Emerging flavour: Bali long peppercorns

Specialty salts from exotic locations have been popping up in even mainstream shopping baskets lately and now they have their match in these long peppercorns from Bali, Indonesia.

About the length of your little toe and the width of a narrow drinking straw, these peppercorns resemble dried miniature cattails. Their aroma and flavour is more floral and nuanced than a regular black peppercorn with hints of fruit, allspice, nutmeg and cardamom — making them the perfect pepper to grind up to accent a saucy pot of curry. However, the base notes are quite similar to normal black peppercorns so these longer versions can be used in place of your regular pepper quite easily, too. Just be sure to add it sparingly since the heat of Bali long peppercorns can sneak up on you!

How do you use a Bali long peppercorn? Although you can grind them in a spice mill or using a mortar and pestle to make a fine powder to dust over food, they also can be added whole or halved lengthwise to long simmered recipes like soups, sauces and stews.

Are you fussy about your pepper? Do you grind it fresh for recipes and at the table or do you buy it pre-ground in a jar?

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19 Responses to Emerging flavour: Bali long peppercorns

  1. Rosa says:

    I love long pepper! I have a few different peppers at home ! I always gring it fresh…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. I loathe pre-ground pepper and always use fresh at the table. I like mine with a fairly course grind, not a fine powder.

    These Bali long peppercorns sound fabulous. Can you put them in your average pepper mill or are they too big? Either way, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for these.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Char, I haven’t tried grinding them in a conventional grinder but I think that if you used one it would have to be quite large.

    You can buy these peppercorns at Dominion/Metro and Longo’s in my area.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I grind my black pepper fresh and prefer it coarse as well. Sometimes, though, my kids will chomp down on an especially large nugget and yowl.

    Bad mom.

  5. Everything old is new again. Long pepper is common in early (late 14th century) French cookbooks, but then, like grains de paradise, suddenly disappear.

  6. Diva says:

    How can it be that I haven’t heard of this pepper before now?! I’m a huge pepper freak and, yes, I’m picky about it. Always grind it fresh and never buy the ground stuff. The one exception being ground white pepper – which for some strange reason I must have when eating Chinese food. Anyhoo – I love the looks of this pepper and your description of the flavor profile, Dana. Looks like I’m about to begin a new search. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Thanks for the info on where to buy them, Dana. I have a honking big pepper mill and will give it a try when I locate some of this pepper.

  8. danamccauley says:

    I should mention that Amy Snider introduced me to these lovely long peppercorns – thanks Amy! And, sorry for not mentioning your role in bringing this spice to my attention in the main part of the post. I am old and progressively feeble.

  9. Dharm says:

    Isnt it strange – Im close to Bali than you are but I have never seen these long peppercorns. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough or maybe they are more for the export market? Beats me!!

  10. danamccauley says:

    Hi Dharm, I bet you are right about the export. I’ve been to Bali (over 5 years ago, though) and I don’t remember this spice being used often either.

  11. Amy says:

    Hey Dana,
    I am glad I showed them to you – I was interested to find out all you learned about them, I think that they might be great to break up and use to flavour broth mixtures so I am going to try them out in a fish poaching mixture in the next week using some leftovers from the TK – I’ll keep you posted…

  12. Elra says:

    OMG, Dana…
    I bought this pepper to U.S when we came back from visiting my family in Bali last summer. In Bali, we always grind them with other spices to make spice paste, what we called “base”
    It’s odd that (to my knowledge) only Balinese use them, maybe that’s what give the Balinese cooking its own distinctive flavors. And, actually (I am so sorry that I have to disagree with you on this, please don’t be mad) there is no equal substitute for this pepper.

  13. Diane says:

    I picked up some of these in Paris this past winter and they are fantastic. I found they were too large to grind in my smallish peppermill, and I use a mortar and pestle to grind them up, The fragrance and heat are fantastic.

  14. danamccauley says:

    Elra, thanks for adding your insider info! And, feel free to disagree with me anytime. I’m always looking to learn as much as I can.

    Diane, do you recall where you bought these peppercorns in Paris? The info may help some of my international readers.

  15. Bali Long Peppers rock. I get mine from Big Tree which is a small co., helping keep local farmers and artisans in business. Cubeb is another pepper on the rise. Slight menthol note to them. The are one of the ingredients in Hendricks. Dying to make a cocktail emphasizing that flavor with Hendricks but these darn deadlines get in the way of the drinking. Have reexamine my priorities!

    (that’s a joke..btw. ) new here, nice blog and nice to meet you!

    Jacqueline Church
    The Leather District Gourmet

  16. danamccauley says:

    Jacqueline,

    Thanks for the intel – you are my kind of girl!

  17. Kara says:

    Any suggestions on where I could find these in Vancouver? (I note the article in the Vancouver Sun on the sidebar, and hope that might suggest a local connection)
    Thanks

  18. danamccauley says:

    Hi Kara,

    I know that the Just A Pinch company distributes them to grocery stores here in the Eastern provinces. According to their website, they also sell to Sobeys in Western Canada.

    http://www.justapinch.ca/vendors.html

    I also saw them at the Spice Trader here in Toronto last week and I know that they have an online store:

    http://www.thespicetrader.ca/

    Good luck!

    Dana

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