Szechuan (or Sichuan) Pepper

These peppercorns aren't actually pepper; they're the seed pod and seed of a Chinese Ash shrub. The pepper has a fresh, piney aroma and provides a zingy, numbing sensation to the eater.

Use them in chicken stir fries or mushroom stew. Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons ground Szechuan Pepper for a delicious rub for lamb or beef, or for seasoning in wild mushroom soup.