Some years back we had a family over for lunch and they brought a delicious chicken dish with a very interesting ingredient that was “new” to me. I did not realize then that this same ingredient is found in five-spice-powder. While I do use five-spice-powder every now and then, I have never used this particular spice on its own. I was intrigued.

Known as Szechuan peppercorns, these brown berries are not peppercorns at all. They are berries from the prickly ash bush with a truly unique flavor. Biting into a berry releases a peppery taste with a hint of anise and lemony overtones, followed by a tingling and numbing sensation to the tongue. Also known as huājiāo, it is widely used in Szechuanese cuisine giving it that fiery flavor.

In Japan, it is called sanshō and is usually sold ground. It appears a little more yellow in color and has a slightly milder flavor. Typically used on grilled foods like yakitori or eel, it is also one of the ingredients in shichimi togarashi. The fragrant serrated kinome leaves are used as a garnish.

I used ready ground Szechuan pepper for this dish.

Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4 servings

Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken


  • 1 3 to 4 lbs (1.5kg) chicken, cut into pieces and fat trimmed
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp canola oil


Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Sprinkle Szechuan pepper, salt, and pepper over chicken. Mix well and allow chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on a large baking tray.

Drizzle canola oil onto chicken pieces. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes or until chicken is golden brown.

Remove and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


**Please finely crush 2 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorns if preferred.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)