Many kinds of Szechuan pepper have been used in cooking and in medicine in China, India and Japan for centuries. The Szechuan pepper has a pronounced spicy-woody aroma, and a numbing, rather than a sharp or bitter taste. Szechuan pepper is an excellent seasoning for poultry and meat, and in China it is used to flavor dishes such as Szechuan crispy duck and Pang-Pang chicken, a peppery dish, served chilled with cucumber and scallions. For more flavor, dry roast the berries in a heavy pan to release their aromatic oils before using whole, crushed or ground. Szechuan pepper will smoke as it gets hot, so keep the heat low and discard any berries that have blackened.