Every season, seasoned cooks and Michelin starred chefs look ahead at Food trends coming from across the world to Spice up their recipes and experiment with their menus. As the Western food philosophies continue to look eastwards for ancient herbs and ingredients, there is a new spice that has caught the eye of coveted world chefs. Hailing all the way from Nepal, Timut Pepper is a zesty spice that is hot like its boisterous name but also has undertones like a grapefruit.
The spice that found space in BBC list of food trends for 2018, has been consumed in the Himalayas and is known amongst locals for its various medicinal benefits.
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Soon as the spice became the flavour at major food conferences and gourmet shows, there began a quest about its origin and usages. Like most ingredients in the east, the spice has an interesting back history to it. Timut pepper comes from Timur plant which also has a strong India connect. The Bhotiyas – a tribal community from the hilly regions of Uttaranchal in India uses a lot of this spice both in their authentic recipes and also a savoury condiment over fruits. Other timut specialties include dunkcha, a local chutney savoured with meals and hag– a soup made during the winter months.
Image Credit: Flickr
The botanical name for Timut pepper is Zanthoxylum armatum but is also known locally as Nepalese pepper or toothache tree. And those of you who are thinking of our very own bhooth jholakiya that created ripples with its hotness some years ago in the west, may not be wrong. Timut pepper is actually quite hot and has properties similar to Szechuan pepper. The seeds and the husk are said to be so hot that it can create a temporary numbness to the part of body it comes in contact with. It is similar in appearance to a black peppercorn but you must not be mistaken with its diminutive size. The spice despite its growing popularity is still not easy to get around the world. But in Nepal where its grown at an altitude of 5,000 to 6,000 feet it is still pretty easy to stock. In fact, many tourists on their way to the famous Pashupati Nath temple have begun packing a small stash sold by the road side vendors. The spice pairs up well with seafood, meats and even chocolate.
If you too like collecting parts of different worlds in the form of ingredients in your pantry, then go ahead you do need a pinch of timut in your kitchen and in your life!
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