This "false pepper" (botanical name: Sichuan pepper - Family: Rutaceae), also called "Pepe d'Anice", "flower pepper" or "Pepe Mountain", comes from a thorny plant the fruit of which are used seeds. It has a scent reminiscent of lemon and menthol, followed by notes "hot" and woody. The flavor is pleasantly pungent, acrid bite: it ingests just does not feel, but then develops in the mouth persistently.
The area from which originates the Sichuan pepper is one that has a very hot and spicy cuisine. Especially duck and chicken well matched to a sauce Hua jiao yen consists of salt and Sichuan pepper, roasted and burnished, which is sometimes added ginger, anise, starry, garlic and onion. It can be found often in the form of oil Sichuan pepper that is used, along with ginger, brown sugar and rice vinegar, in the preparation of fried noodles. Enters into the composition of another mixture of Sichuan: But the (Chinese term for "numbing and spicy") made with Sichuan pepper and chilli. It 'also a component of the blend traditional Japanese seven-spice called Shichimi togarashi and Five Chinese spices (star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan pepper). It 'an excellent accompaniment, with olive oil and lemon, for grilled fish.
Make sure you always buy the Sichuan pepper well packaged (otherwise he loses all his scent) and is already deprived of the small seeds inside that otherwise return an unpleasant taste very bitter.