Aleppo pepper is a variety of Capsicum annuum used as a spice, especially in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. It is also known as Halaby pepper. Its pods take on a border colour as it matures. They should be semi-dried, seeded and ground. Pepper flakes are known in Turkey as Pul bottle and in Armenia as Haleb bottle. It takes its name from Aleppo, a city along the Silk Road in northern Syria, and is cultivated in Syria and Turkey.
Although a widespread condiment, its use in the United States outside the Armenian, Syrian and Turkish immigrant communities was rare until the 20th century. There is a source (Los Angeles magazine) dating from its growing use in the wider American population, according to Paula Wolfert’s The Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen (published in 1994).
Aleppo pepper has a moderate heat level of about 10,000 on the Scoville scale, with a fruity taste and sweet shades reminiscent of cumin. Its flavour is similar to that of ancho pepper, but more oily and slightly salty; salt is often used in the drying process. It is quite sweet, with a fruity flavor of raisins. It is also described as “sweet, round and with a scent of the best dried tomatoes but which, behind, slaps you a good shot.
The most common use is in the form of crushed flakes, often slightly softer and more oily than traditional red pepper powder. But unlike crushed red pepper, flakes do not contain flesh or internal seeds that contribute to sweetness. Crushed Aleppo pepper can be used as a substitute for crushed red pepper or paprika.
Spice is a common ingredient in some of the dishes that make up a mezze.
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