Aleppo Pepper flakes are one of my favorite spices. I am growing Aleppo Peppers this year and saving seeds to share. I am also preserving the fresh, ripe peppers, into my favorite spice. I knew that the spice flakes are some how treated with oil and salt, but I couldn't find information on *how* exactly that is done. Thankfully, I work with a lot of research librarians who are amazing at doing research and they were able to find books and translations for me that did have instructions.
In Syria and Turkey, Aleppo Peppers are sun dried (not possible in my climate, unless I want moldy peppers instead of dry peppers). After they are sun dried, the seeds are removed, and the dried peppers are crushed by hand into flakes. A small amount of oil and salt are stirred into the flakes. Just enough oil to be absorbed should be used.
My favorite brand of Aleppo Pepper spice available commercially is from Penzey's. The Penzey's spice tastes milder and more complex than my home made spice. My spice is sweeter initially and at the finish, and much hotter in the middle. The Penzey's spice is years old. I am looking forward to see how mine ages.
I dried my peppers in a 175 degree oven for several hours.
Here are some photos of the process. This is just the first small batch. I have two quarts of ripe ones ready to be processed, and more on the plants.
My spice is on the top right side of the photo below. Penzey's is on the bottom left.
I will send you seeds if you want. Trying to spread something positive for Aleppo the city with this tiny gesture.
I am impressed with these plants. I have two. The plants are loaded. They are waist high to me, (5'8") and growing in a galvanized wash tub. I have only preserved my first batch of ripe peppers. I think it was 8 to 10 peppers. I got about 1/2 cup of flaked dry spice from those few peppers.
Post by pepperhead212 on Sept 15, 2016 0:04:58 GMT -5
brownrexx It all depends on the variety of pepper, and the cuisine. I actually use less ground chiles than other forms. Many of my small dried Thai types I use in Chinese, Thai, and Indian recipes in which they are fried briefly in oil, before adding other ingredients. These kind I grind in small amounts to use in place of cayenne, when I just need heat in something, and they are also good for crushed red pepper flakes, with much more flavor than the commercial kind. This Aleppo is made into seasoned flakes, as restless showed, and what I'm thinking of trying with them is that Nam Prik Pao that I have made with countless varieties - always looking for a pepper that gets that good caramelized flavor. Other large chiles, like Numex types, anchos, guajillos, and many others, are often pan toasted, then reconstituted, and ground into a paste, then fried 6-7 min., before making into a sauce, for many Mexican dishes. This results in a more flavorful sauce than just using chile powder. And here's another interesting thing that I discovered through experimeting. Thai curry pastes I found tasted best using mild Numex, reconstituted (probably similar to a mild Thai pepper, not available here). Knowing how most Mexican chile dishes NEED the chiles toasted, I toasted the chiles for a batch of Thai curry paste, but it didn't taste better. Turns out, the toasting covered up some of the other flavors in the curry. I figured that if something as simple as toasting the chiles would improve it, they would have started it long ago, as they did in Mexico!
Thanks pepperhead212 . I guess that I just do not use as many hot pepper products as some of you. A small container of ground cayenne pepper or a slightly larger container of hot pepper flakes lasts me about 2 years! I still have quite a bit of last year's home made chili powder too.
I don't cook many Mexican foods. We have a small (10 table) Mexican restaurant in the area that we like and it is just like eating in someone's home so I let them do my Mexican cooking. The restaurant is located in a nearby town which has quite a Mexican population but they mostly order take out so the actual restaurant is never crowded.
They also sell some Mexican groceries in the front of the restaurant. It reminds us of so many restaurants that we have eaten at in Central America and we like the feeling of eating there almost as much as the taste of the food. It's cheap too!
I guess that I will just make some ristras with this year's hot peppers.
Post by pepperhead212 on Sept 15, 2016 11:33:56 GMT -5
brownrexx That place sounds like a place I used to go to in Avondale, on rt 41, just after turning off of rt 1, when I used to have to go over there to get Mexican ingredients, before they were available in this area. They always had a vat of chicharrónes cooking, and a take out kitchen, with some tables where you could sit and eat what you bought, and they had a big vat of escabeche to use on everything. The menu was totally in Spanish, so you had to know what you were ordering! There was also a tortilla factory out on rt 1, and I could smell that from far away!
Post by pepperhead212 on Sept 15, 2016 16:28:23 GMT -5
brownrexx It's great that you can find these authentic Mexican restaurants all over now. I have always said that of all of my favorite cuisines, Mexican is the most labor intensive, if you want to get it right. But it is so worth it! Back in the 70s and early 80s, my closest source for Mexican ingredients was in NY city! Can you tell I'm obsessed? As you noted, the Mexicans work in those mushroom farms, which really got going in Kennett Square in the late 80s, and this is how I discovered those places in Avondale. We would go to those mushroom farms, before anything but white mushrooms was available in stores, and get cases of portabellas, creminis, shitakes, and whatever else they had at the time, and friends would split them up with us. Amazing how stores have changed!
We would go to those mushroom farms, before anything but white mushrooms was available in stores, and get cases of portabellas, creminis, shitakes, and whatever else they had at the time, and friends would split them up with us
I did the same thing with my friends! I think that the mushrooms came in 5 lb boxes.
I have not been down there in a long time but I think that there is at least one mushroom retail store there now.