Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Guide To Paprika-Spanish/Hungarian, Sweet or Smokey ?

Do you want to add rich red colour and smokey flavour with a tad of hotness to your meat/chicken ,fish or protein stew? Then Paprika is a spice you need to buy,tweak and experiment with.However you must be sure to get the real deal.Most of what we nowadays have at our supermarkets is just some mild form of chilli and that's no Paprika.

  My best bet for over the counter Paprika if you are in Kenya is tropical heats current batch of Paprika available at Nakumats store.Please buy the clear container as you can get to examine the colour of the Paprika it should be bright red and of very fine texture not grainy.

So what is Paprika and from what is it made? Paprika is made from ground or dried capsicum fruits or otherwise known as Bell or Chilli Peppers(in swahili Pilipili Hoho).Some paprika is made from smoked bell papers thereby giving it a smoky finish and that's the kind that i really delight in(sorry cant get some of that locally)due to the absence of the real thing local chefs who know what paprika is and the distinct taste it can add to a stew often use bell paper smoked over a gas top or a smoker(using different wood varieties such as mesquite or chicory available at Nakumat can tweak the stew but are well worth it).

The well known international brands of Paprika are Hungarian or Spanish.Spanish paprika containers are commonly identified by their 70's -80's cartoon stickers,flavour wise tend to have less heat or pungency and aroma as compared to Hungarian but that is subject to debate and also dependent on the brand you buy.However if you are using a recipe please use the recommended brand.But remember a good cook experiments with various flavors after all you wont be recognised as one unless you have a signature dish thats just you.Therefore explore the world of spice and Paprika may just be your first stop to success.

Keep to this blog and learn how your food may get a wow  factor with tried and tested techniques or tips-Lets culinate people!


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