Sichuan Peppercorns, also spelled Szechwan and Szechuan, are back after a long absence.
Sichuan pepper (xanthoxylum peperitum) is native to the Sichuan province of China and is not related to black pepper (peper nigrum), which is native to India. Before Asian cultures were introduced to chile pepper, Sichuan pepper was used along with ginger to give heat to many dishes. The heat in modern Sichuan cooking comes instead from red chile pepper (capsicum annum), introduced to Asia in the 15th century. Sichuan pepper is still called for in many traditional Chinese recipes.