Aframomum Melegueta Pepper or as it’s more commonly known - Grains of Paradise Spice - belongs to the turmeric and ginger family. Offering citrusy flavors, while also retaining a distinct taste akin to black pepper, this product is popular with professional and amateur cooks around the world.
Originating in Ghana, in West Africa in the 14th century, the ingredient eventually spread to Europe via camel caravans arriving in Italian cities, sold as African pepper. It became extremely popular, particularly as alternatives like nutmeg and black pepper had yet to become widely known.
Beautiful, Citrusy Flavors
Even in the modern day, however, it still has a loyal following, as the flavor profile it provides is complex and unique. Sure, ingredients like cardamom, citrus, and ginger can be used as substitutes, but Grains of Paradise Spice offers a little of all three for a memorable taste experience.
The ‘spice’ resembles black pepper, although it provides a much more subtle effect on the dishes it’s used in, delivering a warm, earthy seasoning. It’s also characterized by its slightly bitter aftertaste - something that is able to complement and balance sweeter tones.
Often Used to Add Finishing Touches to Meals
When buying Grains of Paradise, you’ll notice that they come as they exist in nature - in seed form, meaning that they need to be ground before sprinkling them liberally over your food, in the same way as you would use a pepper grinder to add black pepper.
You see, despite its name, it’s not actually a spice, but that doesn’t stop it from introducing a new dimension to the cuisine it’s added to. Often used as a finishing touch, it’s super easy to use and only takes a few twists of your pepper mill.
Grains of Paradise Spice is Used in Cooking
The truth of the matter is that when cooking with Grains of Paradise, experimentation is very much the order of the day. What you’ll soon discover is that it’s hugely versatile, like black pepper, so it can be used in pretty much any recipe you can think of - even those considered to be a dessert!
For instance, you could just as easily use it in an apple pie, as include it in a curry or vegetable dish, such is its adaptability. What it does is heighten and complement flavors that already exist, while also adding its own distinctive touch to grilled dishes, pies, pasta, salads, and more.
A Range of Health-Boosting Benefits
Typically speaking, those cooking with the spice tend to use it as a meat rub (for kebabs and steaks) or an ingredient for both vegetable and fish marinades. Soups, brines, green salads, and fruit-based desserts can benefit from its inclusion, as can certain types of gin and craft beer.
While the flavors offered by Grains of Paradise are the primary reason for its widespread use, there are also a number of health benefits associated with including it in your diet. Here’s just a few of them to be going on with…
- Soothing to the stomach - using Grains of Paradise spice regularly is known to help with a range of different stomach complaints, helping to soothe and reduce inflammation throughout the body’s digestive system.
- Antioxidant power - as with many types of herbs and spices, this one comes with a high concentration of antioxidants, allowing all those body impurities to be flushed out as they should be. This also provides support to the immune system, protecting the body from viruses and infection.
- Effective pain relief - believe it or not, the ‘spice’ can actually help to combat a variety of different types of pain, whether talking about stomach ache, toothache, or arthritis. The reason for this is the seeds used in its creation possess analgesic properties.
- Aphrodisiac - want to introduce a little ‘spice’ into the boudoir? Then Grains of Paradise spice could be the answer for you, as it’s known also to be a potent aphrodisiac. Perhaps not what you were expecting from a cooking ingredient!
Enjoy Its Amazing Flavors Yourself at Home
So, there you have it - Grains of Paradise spice provides a truly unique taste profile that really needs to be experienced first-hand to completely understand its complexity. The great news is that obtaining some for yourself couldn’t be easier.
All that’s required is that you visit the Little Istanbul Gifts shop today. That’s all from us this time. Join us again soon, when we’ll be bringing you more interesting advice on the many amazing herbs and spices from Turkey and around the world.