Paprika

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Paprika or Pimenton is a classic and easy-to-use spice. Paprika has a bright red colour comes from the amount of capsanthin present and the lack of capsaicin, which is the heat determinant in chilli. Paprika is grown in most temperate climates but the most famous in Europe are from Hungary and Spain.

Paprika has two types: hot and sweet. Smoked paprika is a smoky version of paprika. Sweet paprika is warm with a sweet flavour, with pepper-like flavours, but paprika has almost no heat. Hot paprika is warmer but not significantly, so adds a piquancy to your food rather than a chilli-like heat. You can make your own blend for a mild-medium piquancy: 3:2 of sweet paprika: hot paprika.

Paprika is good with tomato-based sauces and mixed with cumin powder in Moroccan dishes. In Hungarian cuisine, paprika is the key spice, in dishes like goulash, chicken paprikás or duck pörkölt, while it adds a orange-yellow to many potato, rice or vegetable dishes. In Spain, paprika is used in romesco sauce or in sofrito, a Spanish mix of onions and other ingredients fried in olive oil that is the base for many stews. In Morocco and Turkey, paprika is used in spice mixes and to flavour vegetables and meat, especially offal.

Types of Paprika

Table of Types of Paprika and their Key Characteristics[1]

Type Origin Flavour Comments
Különleges Hungary Special, delicate Fine bright red powder; sweet with almost no heat
Édesnemes Hungary Noble sweet Dark red, sweet with a restrained heat and no bitterness
Delicatess Hungary Delicatessen Light red, tasting fruity and mildly hot
Félédes Hungary Semi-sweet Less sweet and more pungent than Delicatess
Rozsa Hungary Rose Pinkish red and hotter than Félédes
Eros Hungary Strong Made for low grade capsicums, has a more pungent and bitter aftertaste. Brownish-red and coarse, so more like chilli
Dulce Spain Sweet, mild Brick red powder that smells smoky and has a tangy taste
Agridulce Spain Bittersweet Deep red colour, piquant with a hint
Picante Spain Hot Rust red, with a sharp piquant heat
Smoked or Ahumado Spain Smoky, bittersweet Smoky aroma and flavour that is sweet, peppery and slight bitterness

References

  1. Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.