This is one of the oldest Chinese seasonings with the most usage in the
Chinese cuisine. The name sounds limiting but it comes from more than the
Szechuan country side. Strangely enough it is not related to the black
peppercorn nor does it hit you with a hot flavor but a numbing type of heat. It
should always be toasted to smoking in a dry skillet and ground with a mortar
and pestle to produce fine powder as biting into a full peppercorn is not
pleasant on the tongue.