Long Pepper (Piper Longum) is a rare and under-appreciated spice that is slowly making its way back into the hearts and recipes of Western chefs. Long pepper has long battled black pepper for attention in the kitchen, with peppery flavors that at first seem similar. But, where black pepper’s flavor profile stops at earthy, musky, and peppery; long pepper continues into complex territory, blending sweet flavors like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg with a bold peppery tobacco-like heat. Its flavor fills your palate like a well balanced garam masala and makes you wonder how so many refined flavors can spring from one simple spice.
Like many spices considered gourmet spices in the western world, long pepper is still frequently used by Malaysian, Indian, and Pakistani cultures, who call it by its local name- Pippali. Its sweet heat works well with roast meats and barbecues, dry rubs and honey glazes. It is also stunning when paired with vegetables like asparagus, artichoke, and mushroom. Or, for a spicy sweet contrast, use long pepper in mango chutneys, and light salads. Ultimately, long pepper can be used anywhere black pepper is called for.
Add long pepper towards the end of the cooking process so that the flavors are not broken down by the heat.
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