Kali Mirch: Plucking The Berries
A little hot, a little earthy, and very pungent – black pepper has a brash essence that somehow pairs with all sorts of savory food, excellently. While I tend to stick to black pepper, the world of spices has two more versions of it - green and white.
Each peppercorn (as they are technically called) has its own nuances, but they all are berries of the same plant. The type of pepper depends upon when it is picked. Black pepper is the spiciest, and these berries are plucked before they are ripe.
The larger the size of the peppercorn the more punch its flavor and aroma packs. The crème de la crème of black pepper is the Tellicherry peppercorns grown in Kerala.
Why Use Black Pepper: The Paybacks of the Spice
Black pepper is one of the most popular spices, not just in the modern world but also in the ancient. Around the 5th Century, the hot herb was considered an alternative to money. If you didn’t have the moolah to pay off rent or taxes, you could pay it in pepper!
While I can’t use the spice to swipe away the astronomical bills of my food indulgences, I can use it to make my recipes healthier and nutritious. For over 3000 years, pepper has been known for its healing qualities.
Its very name is derived from a herb known in Ayurveda for treating lung and heart conditions. What’s the herb? Pippali or as the world knows it Indian Long Pepper.
Medical volumes written in Sanskrit say that black pepper is a close relative of pippali. It is why the pungency of pepper stimulates the heart and gets the blood pumping.
Moreover, the woody robustness of the culinary wonder destroys mucous and opens ups the sinuses.
Black Pepper: A Quick How-To
If salt is the spice that brings out the flavor in food, then it is kali mirch that transforms them into bolder versions.
The sharp taste of pepper makes it a constant table condiment in not just my household but universally. Why is it a favorite? Because this spice adds its own, striking flavor to cuisines.
Loaded with cheddar cheese, I add some coarse black pepper to the dough of Bubble Bread to give it a hidden kick.
Herbalicious and nourishing, try this Buckwheat Tabbouleh Salad as a mid-day meal. It's so easy to digest that it does away with the 2 O’Clock doldrums!
You know the times when every taste bud is watering for that hot spoon of soup with a sharp peppery bit? For those days, my go-to recipe is the white bean & barley soup.
The wonders of black pepper don’t cease here. Try my guacamole with roast potatoes, and you’ll forever swear by pepper as the perfect seasoning.
Tasha’s Inside Tip
The wonderous pop black pepper has? It fades with time in pre-ground pepper. So, the trick is to grind the spice fresh. If you especially love the bolder bite of the condiment, either add the peppercorn whole to the dish or smash them coarsely using the side of a broad knife. You’ll adore the piquancy it brings to the recipe!
I hope you are enjoying my #spiceseries blogs.
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