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Castroni Szechuan Pepper Corns
The Szechuan pepper is a small berry obtained from plants of the Zanthoxylum family typically used in Asia as a spice. Its called pepper due to the fact that the berry can remember a black pepper berry, but between the two spices there is no correlation.
It is widely used in Asian cuisine, for example in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Japan and China, mostly in Sichuan, the region from which the spice is named. This is China’s internal area, which has a very hot and spicy cuisine. It is used for the creation of many hot sauces, such as the Hua jiao yen sauce consisting of salt and Sichuan pepper, roasted and browned, which is sometimes added ginger, anise, star, garlic and onion. It can be found often in the form of Sichuan pepper oil that is used together with ginger, brown sugar and rice vinegar, in the preparation of fried noodles. It is part of the composition of another Sichuan mixture: the Ma la (Chinese term for “numbing spicy”) made with Sichuan pepper and chilli. It is also a component of the traditional blend of seven Japanese spices called Shichimi Togarashi and Chinese Five Spices (star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan pepper).
The Szechuan pepper is a little pepper but very pungent, with aroma of citrus and notes of cedar and grapefruit. It has numbing effect on the tongue and promotes salivation. In Europe it is chosen for refined dishes, for example for foie gras and beef marrow, and pork with honey. It is great in desserts such as sorbets and chocolate mousse. Suitable for meat, asparagus and artichokes. Finally, it is an excellent accompaniment, with olive oil and lemon, for grilled fish.