Long Pepper

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Long Pepper is a relatively rare spice that is best used in pickles, but also works well in pâtés. Long pepper comes in two types - Indian (Piper longum) and Indonesia (Piper retrofactum). Rather than being small round corns, long pepper are long catkin-shaped, dark-brown spikes. Both types are interchangeable for cooking purposes.

Long pepper starts by smelling and tasting like black pepper, with a hint of sweetness. But long pepper has a very different aftertaste, being sharper and numbing rather than having a pleasant, lingering warmth. If anything, Indonesian long pepper is more pungent even than than the Indian.

Long pepper is used in South East Asian cuisine, Indian cooking, as well as East and North African dishes. It is especially good in chutneys and pickles, so try substituting long pepper for classic black peppercorns in these for a stronger bite.

A rare sub-type is wild Assam pepper, which is smaller and more oval in shape.

Substitutes: use ⅔ black pepper if you have no long pepper; Indian and Indonesian long pepper are substitutable for each other.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • McFadden, C. (2007) Pepper: the spice that changed the world, Absolute Press. ISBN: 9781904573609.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.