These chilli flakes are a hot ingredient, since being championed by Nigella and Ottolenghi. Pul biber is an everyday table spice in Turkey where it’s liberally sprinkled over dishes, like the Eastern equivalent of black pepper – the perfect kick for fried eggs, avocado toast, roast salmon or grilled aubergine.
The best Aleppo pul biber is a bright orange-red colour with a sundried tomato like fruitiness. It has a moist texture, thanks to the traditional drying process which involves bagging and ‘sweating’ the chilli flakes to make sure that they retain their natural oils. The end result is a world away from paper-dry, tasteless chilli flakes.
Instead, Aleppo pul biber is all about delivering a big finishing flavour. Throughout Turkish cafes, customers might use Aleppo pul biber to season lahmacun flatbread, kebabs and manti dumplings. There’s no need to stick to the rules though – Aleppo pul biber is a versatile spice which will enhance anything from grilled prawns to pizza.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Aleppo Pul Biber, Halaby Pepper, Turkish red pepper flakes, Turkish red pepper, Aci pul biber, Ipec pul biber madras, Aleppo pepper
Rooted Spices started round my kitchen table, with a singular aim: to find the best tasting spices possible. I wanted to bridge the gap between those fragrant bags of spices you pick up at overseas markets and the dusty, decades-old jars found at the back of British spice cupboards.
I began to track-down samples and tasted hundreds (and hundreds!) of different spices against plain rice and lentils. What became clear is that different regions had different specialties. There was fragrant cardamom from Guatemala, sweet cinnamon from Sri Lanka and shiny black Urfa pul biber from southern Turkey. No wonder – each region has growing conditions best-suited to specific spices, and generations of farmers who know how to get the best out of a harvest.
While supermarkets often mix together spices, and list them as coming from ‘countries of multiple origin’ I set about compiling a range of ‘Single Origin Spices’, each picked for their incredible taste, freshness and potency.
Over time, the range has expanded into blends too – both traditional spice mixes as well as our own unique spice blends. The mission here at Rooted Spices is to liberate spices from the back of cupboards – after all, spices aren’t just for the occasional curry, but for giving everyday dishes a boost. Whether it’s a pinch of Turkish chilli over a fried egg or Shichimi Togarashi taking mac + cheese to the next level, using a pinch of something really potent makes all the difference.