Despite their most popular name, Szechuan peppercorns
(aka flower pepper, fagara) aren’t actually peppercorns, but come from a
different variety of plant entirely. One of the central spices in
Chinese five spice powder, Szechuan peppercorns tingle the mouth with an
almost citrus-like flavor. Those looking to experience a more powerful
version of this tingling should try Sechuan Buttons.
one might expect given their origin, Szechuan peppercorns are an
integral part of fiery Szechuan Chinese food, not because they are
spicy, but because they work extremely well with hotter spices.
Because of their reputation for carrying a plant illness judged to be
harmful to American agriculture (a problem that has now been solved
through careful irradiation) Szechuan peppercorns were impossible to
find in the United States until a few years ago.
*Kosher: 8 oz size is marked kosher. Smaller packages are not currently marked kosher (but are certified).