Ah, peppers

Seems every recipe site I look at has suddenly discovered Aleppo pepper. Goodness.

Aleppo pepper is actually a process. Halaby peppers are picked when properly ripe, cut into strips, de-seeded, and placed in the sun to almost dry.

Once they’re at the proper state, they’re chopped and combined with salt and olive oil; then placed back out to dry completely. The result is a lovely mild, tangy, complex little spice with an almost raisin-y overtone.

While it’s named for the city of Aleppo in Syria, honestly, most Aleppo pepper comes from Turkey these days; and this is a good thing, because the Turks tend to produce a more consistent product.

What you should look for in the spice shop are nice red flakes, with a soft texture and an oily sheen. Turn the bottle looking for seeds. If you see seeds in the pepper, don’t buy it — seeds make the spice bitter, and change the taste fairly significantly.

I use Aleppo pepper in a lot of places where the recipe calls for crushed pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, and I usually keep it in two forms: a jar of straight Aleppo pepper; and a blend of Aleppo and other mild chilies — usually the Uc Biber blend from Flatiron Pepper Company. (If you find the Uc Biber is to your liking, be advised that the oily Aleppo pepper plays merry hob with mechanical equipment, so Flatiron only does occasional limited runs of that particular blend.)

I’m pleased that this Middle Eastern staple is being discovered by cooks Stateside, and I wait with bated breath for the US to find other lovely Mid-East spices, like sumac.


Mahgrebi Chicken Soup

9 thoughts on “Ah, peppers”

  1. I use ras al hanout to make a meat and cabbage (etc) baked thing in he cool time of the year. I’ve been hankering to try aleppo pepper and now I shall locate some.

  2. It’s a lovely, lightly smoky, lightly sweet, pepper.

    I’m almost out, and I need to find more.

    Obligatory Gary Johnson joke…

  3. Sounds interesting, and worth a try. May also try making an equivalent with summer heat to dry peppers.

  4. This recipe is a PITA and also amazing.
    It comes from herbalist and former professional baker Lee Carroll.

    If you want more about the history and rationale, here’s the link.

    If it’s TL/DR, here’s the recipe. He’s not kidding when he says it’s amazing with good butter.

    Turmeric flatbread

    Turmeric Flatbread – Original © Lee Carroll |
    This flatbread is designed to give a therapeutic dose of bioavailable turmeric with other ingredients that support
    metabolic health, especially valuable for metabolic syndrome, and related conditions. It is important to use organic turmeric powder that is standardized to 5% curcuminoids to ensure the therapeutic dose is correct.
    The recipe makes 40 pieces of flatbread in total. Each piece includes the following:
    Turmeric: 0.5 g (Curcuminoids: 25 mg)
    Fenugreek: 1 g
    Nigella: 1 g
    Flaxseed: 3.5 g
    Calories: 124
    Protein: 4.8 g
    Fat: 8.2 g
    Total Fiber: 3.43 g
    With 20 g of turmeric per batch, each square of flatbread has 25 mg of bioavailably enhanced curcuminoids. Eating
    two pieces per day is a genuinely good therapeutic dose. To achieve a greater therapeutic effect, increase
    turmeric to 40 g, thereby providing 50 mg of bioavailably enhanced curcuminoids (however this does make for a
    much stronger taste).
    40 g
    660 mL
    20 g
    40 g
    60 mL
    200 g
    300 g
    260 g
    Fenugreek seed (whole) (4 flat tbsp.)*
    Water (600mL + 60mL / 20 Fl oz + 2 Fl oz)
    Turmeric powder (2 heaped tbsp.)*
    Nigella seed (2 x 20 g) (4 heaped tbsp.)
    Sesame seed or olive oil (2 Fl oz)
    Brown onion, chopped (2-3 med./7oz)
    Carrot, chopped/grated (2-3 lg./10.5 oz)
    Besan (garbanzo/chickpea) flour*
    20 g
    20 g
    160 g
    70 g
    70 g
    100 g
    100 g
    2 tsp.
    Cumin seed (3 heaped tbsp.)
    Black mustard seed (2 flat tbsp.)
    Pumpkin seed kernel (pepita) (1 cup)
    Whole brown linseed (flax seed) (1/2 cup)
    Whole brown linseed, finely ground**
    Sesame seed (1 cup)
    Sunflower seeds (1 cup)
    *Organic, especially important for besan, as conventional besan is particularly high in glyphosate.
    **Avoid buying pre-ground flax if possible as it goes rancid very quickly. If you do not have a spice grinder though,
    use 70 g bought ground flax and 70 g whole seeds (and always store flax in the fridge).
    ▪ Spice grinder
    ▪ Vitamix blender or similar
    ▪ Large mixing bowl, wooden spoon
    ▪ 2 large baking trays, with baking area roughly 38 x 30 cm each (15 x 12 inches)
    ▪ Baking paper
    ▪ Large metal spatula
    1. Soak the Fenugreek: Add the Fenugreek seeds to 600 mL of water, stir well, cover, and let soak overnight.
    No need to refrigerate. If you have a spice or old coffee grinder, grinding the seeds first speeds up the
    soaking step. Allow at least 6 hours.
    2. Blitz the Fenugreek: Blend the soaked fenugreek with the soaking water in a blender (I use a Vitamix).
    Start slow and gradually increase the speed until the texture is thick and gooey (like mayonnaise). It may
    take a few minutes.
    Turmeric Flatbread – Original © Lee Carroll | http://www.leecarrollherbalist.com/blog Page 2 / 2
    3. Incorporate Turmeric and Nigella: Add the Turmeric powder and half the Nigella seeds (20 g) to the
    Fenugreek and blend on a high speed for a further 3 – 5 minutes. Add a little water if the consistency
    becomes too thick. The mixture should be warm to hot when finished and all the Nigella seeds should be
    finely ground. This step is important because the emulsion created with the Turmeric enhances the
    bioavailability of its active constituents, the curcuminoids. The black seed coat of the Nigella contains
    melanin which has a powerful effect on the immune system and grinding it makes it more bioavailable.
    4. Clear the Blender: Pour contents into a very large mixing bowl and put aside (you will probably need a
    silicon spatula to scrape as much of the sticky contents out as possible.
    5. Puree Carrots and Onions: Puree the onions, carrots, oil and 60 mL of water
    a. If you are using a high-powered blender like me, there’s no need to clean the remains from the
    previous steps out first. Blend until it is a smooth and a free-flowing thick liquid. Add some of the
    fenugreek/Turmeric mixture if you need more liquid to facilitate blending.
    b. If you are using an ordinary blender, it will not handle this step and you will need to use a food
    processor. Grate the carrots and dice the onions first, and process with oil and water to as finer
    consistency as you can. You may need to incorporate extra water here to do this.
    6. Add Carrot and Onion puree: Pour the blended carrot and onion into the mixing bowl with the blended
    spices and stir to an even consistency. Once again, you may find a silicon spatula helps get all the blender
    contents into the bowl.
    7. Sift Besan flour: Sift the Besan flour directly onto the mixture and stir it in as you go.
    8. Add remaining ingredients: Finally mix through all the remaining ingredients: the other half of the nigella
    (20g), cumin, mustard, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, whole and ground flax seeds, and salt. Stir together
    until an even consistency is achieved.
    9. Rest the mixture and prepare to bake: Leave the mixture to rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the dough to
    firm up, though it should still be quite wet. If it is too wet, add more Besan flour. Heat the oven to 150°C
    and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
    10. Spread out the dough: Divide the dough equally between the baking trays and spread it out to cover the
    surface, achieving an even thickness and a rectangular shape. Use a long metal spatula to smooth it out
    and give it straight sides. I flick water onto the dough to make the spatula slide over the surface without
    sticking, or you can dip the spatula in some water. For those who have used a food processor, the dough
    may not be quite so sticky. This may be the most challenging step of the whole recipe.
    11. Divide the dough: Divide the now spread dough into 20 equal potions for each tray (4 x 5) by
    marking/scoring through the dough with a wet knife. Make sure you score the dough, with a light touch,
    all the way through to the paper. Once it is baked it easily breaks along these lines to give equal sized
    12. Bake: Bake in a fan-forced oven at 150 C (300 F) for 50 minutes (possibly longer without fan-force), or until
    the desired texture is reached. If you needed to add significantly more water to the mixture before, you
    may need to extend your bake time as well.
    13. Finish: Remove from the oven and allow to cool until able to be handled. Then break along the score
    marks to get 20 separate pieces per tray. Making 20 pieces of bread from each tray makes it simple to
    calculate the dosage of the herbs used. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a soft texture.
    Suggested use: 1 – 2 squares per day
    Serving suggestions:
    ▪ Spread with a generous amount of humus or avocado
    ▪ It is lovely simply spread with organic butter
    ▪ Use it as a bread/cracker replacement
    ▪ Crumble into a salad

  5. Sumac has already been introduced to the US. Go to any decent kabob shop in the DC area and you’ll see shakers of ground sumac on the table. I just got a new shipment from the Spice House a few weeks ago. I told Leigh last night that I’m going to try it on my burgers next time I fire up the grill.

Comments are closed.