Five Spice Powder
Szechuan Peppercorns are an essential ingredient in the famous aromatic Asian spice blend known as Five-Spice Powder. Interestingly, Szechuan Peppercorns are not true Peppercorns, but are the dried berries of a small Prickly Ash tree which grows in the Szechuan province of China, a region well-known for the spicy contributions it offers to Chinese cuisine. Other sweet spices, such as cinnamon, fennel seed, cloves and star anise round out the flavor of this distinctive flavoring blend.
Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Place all spices into skillet, stirring continually. Do not allow spices to blacken. When lightly toasted and fragrant, remove spices from pan and allow to cool. Using a spice or coffee grinder, grind all to fine powder, passing through a fine sieve or strainer to remove any larger pieces.
Place the powder in a jar or container with a tightly fitting lid. Five-Spice Powder may be stored for several months.