Also known as the Chinese cardamom, Sichuan pepper (also spelt Szechuan pepper) is native to Central China. The people of Sichuan province first started cultivating and using it over 2,500 years ago. Outside of China, this spice was mostly unknown until recently, but now it’s becoming more and more popular in Western cooking. Read on to learn more about what makes it so special
What is a Sichuan pepper?
Sichuan pepper is a spice from the Sichuan province in China. It adds a touch of spicy flavour to food. The pepper itself has a reddish-brown colour.
What does Sichuan pepper taste like?
Sichuan pepper has a slightly spicy, numbing flavour. On its own, it can be quite spicy so it's often combined with black pepper or other spices such as star anise or cardamom.
What is the difference between Sichuan pepper and black pepper?
Sichuan pepper has a tingling spice while black pepper adds a more bitter heat. Black peppers are also picked unripe, while Sichuan peppers are typically picked fully ripe. This may account for the difference in flavour between the two types of peppers.
How do you use Sichuan pepper?
Sichuan peppercorns are typically used as a garnish, but they can also be used in the cooking process. They are most commonly ground and then sprinkled over dishes to create an earthy and aromatic flavour.
Our favourite recipes using Sichuan pepper: