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red peppercorns - what to use them with

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've just come back from a holiday to Vietnam (lucky me).

On the island of Phu Quoc, I managed to buy some peppercorns from a small scale plantation.

The black and white peppercorns are full of flavour, very intense.

My question, however, is about the red peppercorns which I also bought (in reality, they look close to the black peppercorns, just a bit more brownish). Their smell is amazing, but difficult to describe. To me there is a bit of a smoked tea smell, to the one friend a smell of dried prunes, the other speaks of a bit of citrus

Frankly, I didn't even know that dried red peppercorns existed.

My question is: Does anyone know them and cooked with them? And what did you make?

 

Just to be clear: these are dried berries of the piper nigrum

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post #2 of 9

They also have Pink-Green-Purple=Black-White and yellow.    Same as fresh peppers red=green=yellow= orange=purple       All done by the sun and degree of ripeness and light exsposure  . You can use all of them anywhere, I know of no restrictions.

CHEFED
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Ed, but I think there is a bit of confusion here. it looks like you are talking about the bell peppers and/or chili peppers, while I am actually on about the fruits of the Piper nigrum only. I will make a picture of the peppercorns to clarify, meanwhile, there is a good picture here: http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com/engl/Pipe_nig.html

 

By the way, not everything that is called peppercorn in common speech comes from the same plant (piper nigrum), like the pink peppercorn (schinus molle ) and szechuan pepper (Zanthoxylum family)

 

The Pipeer nigrum is a vine with green berries that turn red later in the season.

When the peppercorns are (just) green, they get harvested and dried and they turn into black peppercorns.

With the husk removed (harvested at a later stage), they become white peppercorns.

The green ones can also be harvested at a bit of a later stage and then they normally get brined. This can also happen to the red ones.

I actually got dried red ones and these are harvested in the red stage, but now it becomes more risky to dry them as the fruits are mature and can spoil because of their moisture & sugar content. And if the skin gets damaged in the process you end up with white peppercorns.....

 

Anyway, I am thinking it would taste quite good on things like Duck, but I would like to know if someone has any other good ideas and experiences.

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post #4 of 9

Hi Butzy, duck sounds like an excellent idea to try it.... I faintly remember having dried red pepper as I grew up but I'm not even certain, and I certainly don't remember the taste. 

 

Funny I found some "fresh" (frozen) green peppercorns at a Thai market here and was also wondering what I could do with it. I ended up ordering a Thai Jungle curry which is a curry with whole grapes of fresh green peppercorns - really good. 

 

So... Viet Nam huh? I absolutely love the cooking of that country. Never been there unfortunately - maybe some day. My wife recently got me  My Vietnam from Luke N'Guyen which I love - he also has a lot of videos online. What was it like? Did you enjoy the food? 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ah FF, were to start:-)
I thought the country was fascinating and so was the food. Lots of fish and seafood, all fresh.
They definitely like their food ( and so did we).
The English translation of the menu, if it was there, was not always very understandable. At one place I went for the race beef salad, not knowing were I would race off to afterwards. It turned out to be a most delicious rare beef salad!
At another place we tried to order fried springrolls by pointing at the appropriate words in our little dictionairy, only to find out that the word for "fried" and "snake" are the same.
But serious, they do some great salads as well and i got addicted to their turmeric pancake bahn xeo, that i just had to eat whereever i saw it.
We did a cooking course as well, now i just have to get in there and start cooking a couple of vietnamese meals.

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post #6 of 9

I would treat them as you would a finishing salt.Also would not use a pepper mill, but a mortar and pestle instead.Having fruity and floral notes with a softer pepper finish I think it would be great finishing seafood,raw fish etc.If you pick up smoked tea on the nose then I would love to pair it with duck as mentioned before. I think just experimenting and enjoying that process is the beauty of food discovery.

Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzy View Post

Ah FF, were to start:-)
I thought the country was fascinating and so was the food. Lots of fish and seafood, all fresh.
They definitely like their food ( and so did we).
The English translation of the menu, if it was there, was not always very understandable. At one place I went for the race beef salad, not knowing were I would race off to afterwards. It turned out to be a most delicious rare beef salad!
At another place we tried to order fried springrolls by pointing at the appropriate words in our little dictionairy, only to find out that the word for "fried" and "snake" are the same.
But serious, they do some great salads as well and i got addicted to their turmeric pancake bahn xeo, that i just had to eat whereever i saw it.
We did a cooking course as well, now i just have to get in there and start cooking a couple of vietnamese meals.

Sounds dreamy... haven't tried bahn xeo but I do have the recipe in my book so I will absolutely have to try those. Race beef, huh? That sounds tough and stringy wink.gif - Rare beef definitely sounds better! I discovered a Vietnamese restaurants where they served Pandan leaves waffles (green waffles) and all sorts of very fresh spring rolls (20mn wait when you order one - completely worth it since they make them to order with fresh greens) with the vietnamese pate or other choices of seafood/meat. 

 

One day, I'll take a couple weeks holidays in Vietnam! 

post #8 of 9

Definitely go for the bahn xeo next time you have a chance. They're served with fresh herbs, a lovely sweet, sour and salty fish and lime sauce and lettuce leaves  to scoop up bites of it all. So yummy. I live on the edge of a Vietnamese neighborhood and it is one of my very favorite things to order when I stop in any of the neighborhood joints. Right up there with bahn mi, fresh spring rolls, and pho.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
ok, so I did duck breast last night, with roast potatoes and corn on the cob.
I seasoned the duck while it was resting. I used quite a lot of red peppercorns. I crushed them in my pestle and mortar, and kept them fairly coarse.
The flavour was a bit disappointing, nice, but not nearly as intense as I expected.
Maybe the flavour of the duck was too pronounced for the pepper, or maybe my tastebuds are just too used to strong flavours (garlic, chili, fish sauce etc) to appreciate the more subtle flavours.
Next experiment is going to be a pepper-salt dip, maybe with some lemon added.

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