Aleppo Chili Pepper
The Aleppo pepper (Ḥalabī) is a variety of Capsicum annuum used as a spice, particularly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Also known as the Halaby pepper, it starts as pods, which ripen to a burgundy color, and then are semi-dried, de-seeded, then crushed or coarsely ground. The pepper flakes are known in Turkey as pul biber, and in Armenia as Haleb biber. The pepper is named after Aleppo, a long-inhabited city along the Silk Road in northern Syria, and is grown in Syria and Turkey.
Although a common condiment, its use in the United States outside Armenian, Syrian and Turkish immigrant communities was rare until the 20th century, with one source (Los Angeles magazine) dating its rise in use among the broader U.S. population according to the 1994 publication of The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean (ISBN 978-0-06-016651-9) by Paula Wolfert.
The Aleppo pepper has a moderate heat level of about 10,000 on the Scoville scale, with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones. Its flavor is similar to the ancho chili, but oilier and slightly salty; salt is often used in the drying process. It is fairly mild, with its heat building slowly, with a fruity raisin-like flavor. It has also been described as having the flavor of "sweetness, roundness and perfume of the best kind of sun dried tomatoes, but with a substantial kick behind it."
The most common use is in the form of crushed flakes, which are typically slightly milder and more oily than conventional crushed red pepper, with a hint of saltiness and a slightly raisin-like flavor. Unlike crushed red pepper, the flakes contain no inner flesh and seeds, contributing to the mildness. Crushed Aleppo pepper can be used as a substitute for crushed red pepper or paprika.
The spice is a common ingredient in some of the dishes that comprise a meze. Use on chicken, pizza, meat, pasta, salad, vegetables, potato salad, eggs and steak.
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