These chilli flakes are something of a hidden secret outside Turkey, though cooks are starting to discover the hot smoky flavour of Urfa pul biber – which take their name from the country’s southern Şanlıurfa region, where the chilli peppers grow.
The best Urfa pul biber is deep burgundy red, with a hint of raisin sweetness and coffee-like complexity. It has a distinctive smokiness which comes from the chilli peppers themselves, rather than any additional smoking process. It’s used as a table spice throughout Turkey, with pots on cafe tables, so customers can season their own kebabs or lahmacun flatbread.
There’s no need to stick to the rules though. As Urfa pul biber creeps into more international kitchens, it’s sprinkled over avocado toast and poached eggs. Try using a dash to season barbecued steaks, grilled halloumi and even add a pinch to a chocolate brownie mix.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Isot pul biber, Turkish red pepper flakes, Turkish red pepper, Aci pul biber, Ipec pul biber madras, Isot biber
We import our Urfa pul biber from Turkey. It is grown in the South Eastern Şanlıurfa Province, near the Syrian border, where the hot climate allows the peppers to ripen and sweeten on the plant. The region also benefits from local expertise, ensuring that flakes are carefully processed in the traditional fashion.
Urfa pul biber should be stored in a dark, airtight container, to retain its smoky flavour and moist texture. Keep packs away from steam, as humidity will cause it to clump.
The ingredient capsaicin, which is found in chillies, is thought to boost the metabolism, burn calories and satiate appetites. Studies also indicate that eating spicy foods on a regular basis may reduce mortality rates, for more information click HERE.
Urfa pul biber, sunflower oil, salt