Referred to by the Cantonese as "flower pepper," Szechuan pepper is the dried reddish-brown berry of a prickly ash tree native to China. Szechuan pepper is not actually a pepper and does not pack the heat or pungency of a true pepper. It does have a slightly tingly, numbing effect on the tongue, leaving behind notes of lemon and anise. You can use these highly aromatic flower-berries whole, crushed, or ground. To enhance their flavor and fragrance, we suggest lightly toasting them in a dry skillet prior to grinding or adding to your dish.