Not actually related to black peppercorns. Widely used in Chinese, Tibetan, and Japanese cuisine. Has a unique aroma and taste with a slightly lemony flavor that creates a tingly numbness in the mouth. Only the husks are used (the black seeds are discarded as they have a gritty texture). Used to flavor stir-fry noodle dishes and goes well with chicken, duck, and pork. Szechuan peppercorns can be toasted in a dry skillet before grinding to release their full flavor.
Native to North China, Japan, and Korea from a plant called Prickly Ash.