Spice Advice: Urfa Chilli Flakes
Also known as Urfa Biber, this unique and well-loved pepper has been cultivated in the city of Urfa, Turkey for hundreds of years. About the size of a large bell pepper, these glossy fire-engine-red darlings darken to a deep red, almost maroon shade on the vine before being lovingly harvested. They then undergo a special one-two punch of a process where they’re dried naturally in the blazing sun, and then wrapped tightly at night to help retain their natural oils and toothsome bite. This unique and laborious drying process called “sweating” is also how the flakes achieve their eventual deep purplish/black hue.
The beautifully rustic, irregularly shaped flakes offer their taster a unique harmony of acidity, heat and saltiness that has us keeping a trusty tin tableside. (Watch your back, black pepper!) Hints of chocolate, raisin and coffee mingle with a rich, smoky aroma for a truly spectacular sensory experience. With a Scoville rating hotter than both chipotle and cayenne peppers, it’s got a seriously powerful kick of heat to balance out those sweet, chocolatey notes. Don’t worry though. When added carefully, you’ll get your capsaicin fix without overpowering the other supporting flavours in your favorite dishes.
Traditionally used to season proteins like lamb, there are endless cooking applications for this spicy little powerhouse. We love adding a few teaspoons to our braising liquid when we’re slow-cooking meats. We whisk them into homemade BBQ sauces and grill rubs for that extra oomph of smoky goodness. We’ve even been known to bake them right into our favourite sweet treats. The flavours of gooey dark chocolate brownies work particularly well when paired with the salt and surprising heat of the flakes - just trust us! You can even sprinkle a few onto a container of plain store-bought hummus for an elevated, last minute snack for a crowd. Honestly, we just can’t say enough about our Urfa Chilli Flakes. They might just be our favorite flakes on planet Urfa.