Aleppo pepper, or pul biber, is a coarsely ground Turkish and Syrian pepper. It’s popular as a condiment at the table in Turkish homes and restaurants. Aleppo pepper is named after the Syrian city of Aleppo, which lies on the famous silk road spice route. The dried chilli peppers are intensely coloured, fruity, aromatic, but not particularly hot. Aleppo adds layers of fruity warmth to chickpeas, spinach, kale, rice and tofu dishes. The flakes are also fantastic stirred through hummus or yoghurt to add a kick to dips with crudites or flatbreads.
The rich red of tomato, chilli and peppers is the backdrop of Turkish food. Aleppo pepper is used twice here, first to flavour the stew and second in a beautiful Aleppo pepper butter or oil to drizzle over the top. The added punch of raw garlic, stirred through a rich creamy yoghurt topping may seem a little much for breakfast, but it makes the recipe even more special.
In the tomato stew, 1 tsp Aleppo pepper might be a shock to the system in the morning. Use ½ tsp if you like to be woken up more gently…
Ingredients Serves: 2
- Slice the onion and fry with ½ tsp fine salt in 2 tbsp olive oil over a gentle heat for 10 minutes until soft.
- Halve lengthways red romano peppers, discard the core, seeds and pith, and slice into rings.
- To the frying pan, add concentrated tomato paste, tomatoes, garlic finely minced, the sliced peppers, ½ to 1 tsp Aleppo pepper and water. Cook on a low heat for 30 minutes, covered for the first 20 minutes.
- For the last 10 minutes keep stirring while some of the liquid evaporates, to make a thick stew.
- In the meantime, make the garlic-yoghurt sauce and Aleppo pepper butter or oil. For the yoghurt sauce, in a small bowl mix together natural yoghurt or soy yoghurt, clove garlic finely minced and ½ tsp salt.
- For the butter/oil, heat 2 tbsp olive oil (or 25g butter) in a small frying pan with ½ tsp Aleppo pepper and a pinch of salt until the butter is melted and small bubbles start to form. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- When the onion pepper mixture is nearly cooked, cut silken tofu into 2cm cubes. Simmer for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Using a slotted spoon, lift out and scatter across the onion-pepper mixture.
- To serve, spoon over the garlic yoghurt and drizzle with Aleppo pepper butter or oil. Serve with crusty bread or toast.