dry red chilli flakes
Also Known as
Paprika is a spice which comes from a mild red pepper in the family Capsicum annum. Paprika has the greatest range of flavor from sweet and mild to hot, depending on the variety of pepper and whether the hotter seeds and spongy tissue were included. Paprika is equally valued for its taste and its bright red color, derived from capsanthin. The national spice of Hungary, paprika is made from small, round, intensely flavored and sweet-fleshed peppers that are sun-dried and hand ground; the smoked paprika powder called pimentón also hails from Spain.
How to Select
Paprika should be evenly and finely ground, with a shiny uniform color. The redder the color, the milder the paprika. Conversely, the more yellow the color, the stronger the flavor. Ensure the packaging and the manufacturing date. Be sure to check labels to ensure you are getting either the "sweet" (mild) or "hot" type that you desire.
· The rich coloring of paprika not only enhances the visual appeal of foods, but it can also be used as a major flavoring. It goes well with just about any savory food, including vegetable curries, stews, creamy sauces, pastas, pizza, in tomato dishes and salads.
· For most recipes, the paprika is added near the end of the cooking process, because heat diminishes both the color and flavor.
· Paprika is the main flavor in Hungarian cooking.
· Paprika can be used creatively in cooking. Add 2 tablespoons to your favorite pasta sauce. Sprinkle it on potatoes or homemade fries.
· Paprika is useful as a simple garnish for almost any savory dish. Combine it with butter, margarine, or oil for a quick baste for fish or poultry. This is especially good on roast turkey.
· Paprika can be mixed with bread crumbs before sprinkling them over casseroles or vegetables.
How to Store
Paprika should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, preferably the refrigerator. Rather than paprika in a glass bottle, choose the one in the tin which will protect the contents from damaging light. As with most ground spices, paprika will lose its flavor and potency with age. Use it or replace it within six months for best results.
· Paprika is unusually high in vitamin C. Hungary's Nobel prize-winning Professor Szent Gyorgyi first discovered the vitamin in paprika chile peppers. The capsicum peppers used for paprika contain six to nine times as much vitamin C as tomatoes by weight.
· High heat leaches the vitamins from peppers, thus commercially-dried peppers are not as nutritious as those dried naturally in the sun.
· As an antibacterial agent and stimulant, paprika can help normalize blood pressure, improve circulation, and increase the production of saliva and stomach acids to aid digestion.