If You’ve Yet to Taste Urfa Biber, This Would be a Good Place to Start.
Oranges and carrots are a classic combination for a reason. They perfectly compliment each other, so you really don’t need much embellishment. I first made my dressing by cooking a combination of fresh orange juice and maple syrup until it had achieved a syrupy consistency and then putting it aside to cool. I then decided this would be a good place to showcase one of my favorite spices, urfa biber.
For those unfamiliar with this pepper, it originates in Turkey and is unique in its flavor profile. Sweet, tart, smokey, and salty – I’ve never encountered any other pepper with this complexity of flavor. Deep burgundy in color, the texture is also interesting. These peppers are not completely dried before being ground. As I understand it, during the drying process, they are left out in the sun all day, but then covered at night which preserves some of the natural oils in the skins. So, when they are ground they retain a little moisture and the flakes have a slightly oily feel.
This makes it perfect to use as a finishing spice, but I also cook with it extensively. I don’t think I’ve ever found a pepper that blends so well with so many different flavors. I mix it with cumin for spice rubs, add it to curries, Middle Eastern dips and marinades, etc. Whenever I think a dish tastes a little flat and needs a hit of something to perk it up, I add some urfa biber. Whereas I use sumac when the flavor only needs a spark of tartness, urfa biber adds more complexity.
This salad ended up being so much more than a simple orange and carrot salad. It’s overall flavor was greatly enhanced by the pepper and it made for a surprising and delicious addition to my retinue of orange salads, of which I am extremely fond.
Urfa biber can be found in Middle Eastern markets and is easily located online from multiple sources.
How is Aleppo and Urfa different? I ordered Aleppo, and it was just ok to me…very much like paprika with a layer of nice heat.
Hi, Sophie! Urfa biber is a different item altogether. It’s both sweet, kind of smoky, and packs more heat than Aleppo pepper. It has a deeper flavor than most other chilies. It’s texture is also different. It has a little bit of moistness to it because the peppers are dried differently than other chilies. They’re covered at night, which retains some of the moisture. I really love it. 😊
So I ordered urfa biber months ago for a recipe you posted, and can’t find the recipe. I will use it for this!
Well, Sandy, I hope you like it so much, you’ll use it again and again. I find that the more I use it, the more I want to use it. Know what I mean? Its flavor is simply wonderful.😊
Where do you buy spices in flat packs?
Carol, I purchase flat packs from The Spice House and Kalustyans.😊
Thanks to you, I am soon going to run out of room for all of the condiments and spices I didn’t know I needed. Calamansi, anardana, and now urfa biber. May have to rethink my storage options. Thanks Renee
Oh, I hear you, Barb! Here’s what I do in order to keep my spices fresh. I like to order them in flat packs. Then, I have 2 large ziplocs in my freezer in which I keep them. One of the ziplocs is for all things red – chili powders, paprikas, peppers (Aleppo and Urfa), etc. The other one is for all brown and green spices – za’atar, coriander pods, arandana, etc. Those bags are full, but I know exactly what’s in each one and they’re easy to access. This is not counting the spices I keep in my cabinets. Don’t know if this helps you at all, but I had to find a way to contain my stash. Lol!