Take a look at these delicious black pepper recipes, and discover some new flavour combinations. These recipes hero all the fresh, fiery, earthy, spicy flavours within the black pepper world: including Java long pepper, timur berry pepper, Sichuan pepper and Sarawak black pepper.
Serving strawberries with a grind of Java Long pepper takes this summer fruit to a whole new level. Add Spinola PX sherry vinegar and handful of fresh mint leaves, and you’re in for a real treat! The combination is fresh, sweet, sour, bright and tangy – it’s a grown-up dish that takes mere minutes to prepare. Serve with meringues and fresh cream for a summer pud.
Java Long Pepper has a distinctive long shape, like an elongated pine cone or catkin. Grind this long pepper in a pestle and mortar before using it. Java long pepper has vibrant eucalyptus flavours and a woody aroma. Pair it with red meat or punchy dishes such as curry or tagine – this pepper is pungent and aromatic, so use it with a delicate touch.
Sichuan pepper has a distinctive cool and numbing flavour, which works particularly well in this recipe for crispy fried chicken wings. The chicken is marinated in mirin, ginger, sake wine and garlic – then coated in potato flour before frying. The potato flour bubbles up and creates a crunchy, puffy coating. No batter required!
Sichuan pepper is distinguished by its numbing, cooling heat which creates a tingling effect on the tongue. It is used widely in Sichuan cuisine, and often paired with star anise, red chillies and ginger. There is no equivalent flavour in western cuisine, so keep a packet in your store cupboard to achieve truly authentic Sichuan dishes.
Incorporating cubeb pepper into this simple biscotti recipe creates a balanced bake with earthy, warming and sweet notes. Cubeb pepper has a biscuity smell, and big bright eucalyptus flavour. It’s delicious with the chopped almonds here.
Perfect with rich meats such as lamb or pork belly, cubeb pepper has a ‘cool’ spiciness, slightly similar to Sichuan pepper’s flavour.
It is also a popular choice in Middle Eastern ras el hanout seasoning, and is one of the botanicals used to make Bombay Sapphire gin. Try using it in sticky Middle Eastern baklava-style pastries, with honey and dates.
With its old-spice flavours and warm, woody notes, Sarawak pepper adds instant oomph to a simple canape cracker. These little crisp bites are ideal for topping with cured meats, mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers or a punchy olive tapenade.
Sarawak black pepper has robust, fruity flavours but a fairly mellow heat. It is a rounded pepper, and widely considered to be one of the best black peppers available to use. It is grown in the mountains of Borneo, and dried in the sun – and has protected PGI status.
Salt and pepper prawns don’t get much better than these, thanks to the beautiful citrus flavours from timur berry pepper. The batter is made with egg white and fizzy water which makes a thin and super-crispy batter. Serve with a dipping sauce of blitzed garlic, ginger, shallot and red chillies.
Timur berry pepper is also called thingye, yerma and timut pepper. It has a grapefruit-like aroma and a cold heat that works really well with seafood, as in the recipe above.
The pepper is related to Sichuan peppercorns, but has its roots in Nepal. Try pairing it with fresh fruit such as strawberries for a refreshing sweet-fiery combo.
3 more varieties of pepper to try
Passion berry pepper is fairly similar to Sichuan pepper, in that it has a cooling heat. It comes from Ethiopia, and has intense passion fruit aroma. This fragrance means it works well in both sweet and savoury recipes. Try sprinkling it over fruit tarts for a gentle kick. It’s also fantastic with seafood, such as prawns or white fish.
Choose voatsiperifery pepper to season special dishes with light zesty flavours. It is extremely rare, and is harvested in the Madagascan rainforest by village communities who allow the berries to dry in the sun. Use it to cut through the flavours of oily fish, or try sprinkling it over a rich chocolate tart.
Sarawak white pepper has a musky flavour, with a sharp heat. The aroma has notes of liquorice, and is a slightly more subtle flavour than its black pepper counterpart. The peppercorns come from the state of Sarawak in Borneo, where they harvested and kept under running water for a week before processing. This flushing system is called retting, and helps to remove the dark shell, leaving the paler middle behind.