Essential Spice Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorn is used throughout Asia. Coming in shades from brick to burgundy to pink, the Sichuan peppercorns flavor isn’t spicy, but rather citric; and instead of heat, it incites a tingly numbness. Sichuan peppercorn is a spice produced from the husks of seeds of two species of the prickly ash shrub (Zanthoxylum), which is in the rue or citrus family. The pinkish-red husks around the seeds are used for the Sichuan peppercorn spice, while the inner black seed is discarded as it is too gritty and would be sand-like when eaten. Sichuan peppercorns can be used whole or ground into powder. The spice is one of the five ingredients that comprise five-spice powder (the others are star anise, fennel, clove, and cinnamon), and it's used in many savory Sichuan dishes. The aroma of Sichuan peppercorn has been likened to lavender. On the tongue, the first taste is bitter, then numbing heat, followed by citrus. Its main claim to fame is the powerful numbing sensation it causes around the mouth.