Red Sichuan peppercorns, also known as Huajiao, are a type of spice native to Sichuan province in China. They are not actually peppercorns in the botanical sense but the dried fruit of a plant called Zanthoxylum bungeanum. The outer layer of the fruit is bright red and covered with numerous small, raised oil glands, giving it a unique appearance and pungent aroma.

Red Sichuan peppercorns are widely used in Sichuan cuisine to add a distinctive spicy and numbing flavor to dishes. When cooked, they release an aroma that is both pungent and fruity, with a slightly numbing effect on the tongue. This characteristic flavor is essential in many classic Sichuan dishes, such as Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken.

In addition to their culinary uses, red Sichuan peppercorns are also sometimes used in traditional Chinese medicine for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, they should be used sparingly as excessive consumption can cause irritation to the mouth and throat.

In summary, red Sichuan peppercorns are a unique and essential ingredient in Sichuan cuisine, adding a distinctive spicy and numbing flavor to dishes.