A pepper paste is a condiment made from peppers. It is also used as a cooking ingredient, or to season a dish after preparation. Pepper paste is a thick mixture. It can be used as an ingredient in making dipping sauces, It can also be used to glaze food during cooking. Pepper paste can also be used in making marinades. Peppers, vinegar, water, garlic, corn syrup, spices and seasonings, sugar, and salt are used in making pepper paste.
Pepper Paste Trivia
- The number one selling spice in America is pepper.
- Nam phrik (or namprik), a kind of pepper paste from Thailand, can be made 100 different ways.
- Birds can eat as many peppers as they want, you know why? Because they are insusceptible to the hot, spicy taste of peppers that can make us perspire and feel hot in the mouth.
- Scoville Heat Units (SHU) is the standard used in measuring the spiciness or hotness of peppers.
Pepper Paste Buying Guide
When buying pepper paste, mind the level of spiciness of the product. It is usually indicated on the label. Remember that this is made of pepper and even the mildest pepper paste will have notes of spiciness in it. You’ll find spicier pepper paste if you browse the products on display on the shelf.
When buying pepper paste, always make sure to check if the seal is intact. Make sure to also check the item for any signs of tampering or damage that could have compromised the quality of the pepper paste inside the container.
Always check the expiration date.
Pepper Paste Production & Farming in Texas
Chili peppers, which are used to make pepper paste, are grown in Texas. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Texas is one of the four top-producing states in the US when it comes to chili peppers, along with California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
You’ll find homemade or artisanal Texas pepper paste sold in farmers markets. Small, local businesses also sell online.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Store-bought pepper paste may contain these processed artificial ingredients and additives:
- Flavor enhancers
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) or E621
- Disodium 5-Inosinate E631
- Disodium 5 Guanylate E627
- Coloring – Paprika Oleoresin E160c
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Corn Syrup
- Natural Flavoring
- Permitted Preservatives E223
Pepper paste is found all around the world. You’ll find pepper paste in different Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea (gochujang and dadaegi), Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. There is a specific local version of pepper paste in different locations in the Middle East; in the Levant, Maghreb, Turkey, and Yemen. In Africa, you’ll find varying pepper paste products made in countries like Ghana, Malawi, Somalia, South Africa, and Tunisia. Notable pepper paste products in Europe can be found in Hungary and Portugal. Pepper paste is also ubiquitous in countries like New Zealand, Mexico, and the US, and it is also commonly found in the Pacific Islands, the Andes, and the Caribbean.
Pepper paste is sold in glass bottles or plastic tubs.
An important part of the packaging is the label, which contains all the important information the consumer needs to know – the name of the company or the manufacturer, best before date, nutritional data, storage instructions, the place where it was made and bottled, bar code, etc. When buying, it is important that the packaging shows no sign of damage or tampering to ensure the quality and safety of the product.
Enjoying Pepper Paste
Pepper paste is very flavorful and tasty. It will influence the taste of the food you are preparing because of the strong flavor of peppers and the seasonings used in making pepper paste. You can use pepper paste in almost any savory dish made of noodles, vegetables, or meat.
People all around the world have the same appreciation for pepper paste and they enjoy eating their food with their own version of pepper paste as a staple.
Laotians have pepper paste they call jaew bong; Indonesians and Malaysians call pepper paste in Malaysia sambal. In Thailand, nam phrik is a kind of pepper paste made from green chili pepper. Harissa is a Tunisian pepper paste, which is hot and spicy. Harissa is also found in Algeria and Libya. In Turkey, they have salça, while the pepper paste called zhug is from Yemen. Adjika is a kind of pepper paste common in many parts of Europe.
While you’d think pepper paste is just peppery in taste, think again: there are a lot of different types of pepper paste out there and the taste varies from spicy to sweet to earthy, some even characterized by its fish sauce-like flavor, especially those produced in Asia.
Make sure you have no allergy or intolerance to peppers and spicy food before eating pepper paste.
Keep pepper paste refrigerated.
Make pepper paste at home
Make a tasty dip using pepper paste, or use it to flavor soups, stews, noodle broth. Add flavor to meat, fish, or chicken you are planning on roasting. Pepper paste is a very diverse ingredient that has proven very useful in the kitchen and making your own pepper paste guarantees that you are using additive-free pepper paste unlike those you find in stores that have a lot of artificial ingredients.
Yield: This recipe can fill a 2-pint glass jar.
- 1 kilo chili peppers
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Step 1. Remove the stem and seeds of the peppers
Step 2. Peel the garlic
Step 3. Process the garlic and peppers using food processor for two minutes
Step 4. Use a shallow wide pot to heat olive oil
Step 5. Add pepper garlic mix and bring to a boil
Step 6. Stir and let boil for 5 minutes
Step 7. Add seasonings
Step 8. Cook until your desired paste consistency
Step 9. Let it completely cool down before putting this in a jar