If you are looking for an exciting new addition to your spice cabinet, why don’t you consider long pepper? This spice is native to India. While it is often confused with the chili pepper family, it is closely related to the plant that produces black pepper.
You can find long pepper in Indian grocery stores, where it goes by the name “pippali.” The flavor of long pepper is more complex than that of black pepper. The pepper has a longer finish on the palate, and the flavor reminds some people of tobacco. Some say the taste resembles garam masala, an Indian spice blend.
This beneficial spice is not well known in the United States, but its culinary and health applications shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are 10 fantastic ways to use the long pepper in cooking as well as for your health.
11 Reasons (and Ways) to Use Long Pepper
1. Long Pepper Fights Cancer
The active ingredient in this pepper, piperlongumine (or PL), has been shown to fight against many different types of cancer. These include prostate, lung, and breast cancers. Long pepper benefits people with cancer and other chronic illnesses.
2. This Amazing Pepper is a Traditional Medicine
In India, this pepper is used in Ayurvedic medicine. Scientific studies are finally catching up to this ancient form of medicine, and have begun to seriously consider the benefits of long pepper.
3. It Tastes Great in Curry Dishes
This delicious pepper is a perfect ingredient for use in curry dishes. It goes especially well with red meat curry dishes, such as in Indonesian and Thai cuisine. It also augments savory vegetables. When you use this pepper in your curry, you will achieve an authentic flavor that isn’t possible with supermarket blends.
4. This Pepper Encourages Weight Loss
Along with its other fantastic qualities, long pepper benefits a healthy body while helping with weight loss. It helps the body to burn fat and metabolize food.
5. Spice Up Your Love Life
This pepper is also considered a traditional aphrodisiac in Indian culture. Its properties are listed in the Kama Sutra. Consuming this pepper may bring you happiness in the bedroom as well as in the kitchen.
6. Use It to Fight Diabetes
While this pepper isn’t a cure-all, it has documented benefits for diabetics. It helps to regulate blood glucose and to encourage insulin production.
7. Good for Stomach Ailments
While too much long pepper may cause stomach upset, using it in moderation may help with many types of digestive ailments. Diarrhea, constipation, and even infectious digestive diseases like cholera may ease up with this pepper.
8. Make Delicious Tea
Combine one half tablespoon of this pepper with cardamom seeds, 6 cinnamon sticks, and 4 slices of fresh ginger. Simmer these ingredients in 2 quarts of water for 30 minutes. Strain the tea and add milk and honey to taste. This preparation is the famous “yogi tea.” It is an easy way to incorporate the benefits of this pepper in your daily diet.
9. Traditionally Used for Allergies
In Ayurvedic medicine, this pepper is used to help with springtime allergies. It can help with sniffling, sneezing, and mucus production. Spicy foods in general help improve congestion and sinus problems.
10. Substitute for Black Pepper
You can use this pepper anywhere you would normally use black pepper. It provides a special flavor that will stand out in your everyday dishes. Unlike black pepper, it is tricky to grind. Try using a mortar and pestle, food processor, or microplane grater. You will find success with any of these methods.
11. Good for Menstrual Problems
This pepper also helps to ease menstrual problems such as cramps. Drink the “yogi tea” whenever you are having a rough day during that time of the month.
While this spice may be obscure, it offers a host of exciting benefits for the entire body. Medical studies have begun to show that this pepper has clear and documented uses for diabetes, weight loss, cancer, seasonal allergies, and menstrual difficulties. Add this incredible superfood to your diet and reap the benefits of this traditional Indian ingredient.