Sanshou is a spice extracted from the berry of the plant "prickly ashes" and is also known as Japanese pepper - but erroneously, because Sanshou is not actually a type of pepper. Other names for Sanshou are Korean pepper, Szechuan pepper or Chopi (as Sanshou is called in Korean cuisine).
The Sanshou berry is dark green, but in ground form Sanshou has a brownish colour. Sanshou has a strong taste of its own. It tastes earthy and very spicy, but also has a weak mint and lemon note. Sanshou is slightly poisonous and therefore numbs the tongue, but at the same time stimulates all receptors in the mouth. That is why Sanshou has a great influence on the taste of spicy dishes.
Sanshou is cultivated and produced in Wakayama Prefecture. It is a very old spice. It is usually sold as a powder, but you can also buy the whole berry and grind it yourself. Then, of course, the taste is more intense, as is the case with pepper.
Sanshou is used in fatty dishes, but also for refining grilled chicken and eel - Sanshou is an ideal spice for eel in particular, because it reduces the strong smell of the eel itself. Sanshou is also popular for pasta dishes. Yakitori is a popular dish - these are finely chopped, grilled chicken pieces seasoned with Sanshou.
Sanshou is also used in spice mixtures, for example in Shichimi Togarashi (known abroad as Nanami togarashi). It consists of Sanshou, chili and other spices and is used to refine pasta dishes, meat and fish. Finally, the leaves of the Sanshou plant are also often used as "Kasari", i.e. to garnish food.
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