Spice Advice: Aleppo Pepper
Named after the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the Aleppo pepper, or halaby chilli, is known as “baladi” in Arabic, meaning “of the country.” These salty-sweet earthy chillis with slow-building heat mature to a vibrant burgundy color before being plucked by farmers. Processing and producing these ruby flakes, considering both their high demand and climate challenges, is often a slow small-scale affair as they’re partly dried in the sun, de-seeded, coarsely ground (sometimes mixed with salt and olive oil), and then dried further. It’s flaky it’s bright it’s fruity: our Aleppo is cover girl ready!
Its versatility makes it a common Middle Eastern condiment and this citrusy fruity spice is no stranger atop bowls of hummus and beans, sprinkled on spears of kebabs, and blended into muhammara (a Syrian spicy roasted red pepper dip). With cumin undertones and savory tomatoey flavour, it’s a fierce favorite.
Toss it like a rice blessing at your best friend’s wedding (it’s so good it could inspire another jealousy-fueled revenge plot starring Julia Roberts) as a finishing touch on pizza (especially that late night frozen ‘za!), in sauces and dips, on grilled meats, and with those crunchy air fried chickpeas you can’t stop eating.