Isot pepper is a dried Turkish pepper cultivated in the Urfa region of Turkey. It is often described as having a smoky raisin-like taste. Isot pepper is technically a red pepper, ripening to a dark maroon on the plant. The pepper goes through a two-part process, where it is sun dried during the day and wrapped tightly at night. The night process is called sweating and works to infuse the dried flesh with the remaining moisture of the pepper. The result is an appearance ranging from deep purple to a dark purplish black. Isot pepper is less spicy than many other chile peppers but provides a more lasting heat, and is traditionally used in Turkey in meat and savory foods. Because of its fruity overtones, it is becoming popular in to use in sweet dishes in North America.
Story: Cultivated in the Urfa region of Turkey, isot pepper is also known as “urfa biber”. beginning as a bright red pepper it develops a deep, dark brownish-crimson color. The pepper is dried in the sun during the day, then wrapped tightly at night, infusing the pepper with a more potent flavor as it dries.
Flavors: Sweet, smoky and citric aromas give way to a slight, building heat. Textures and notes of leather and tobacco add to the complexity of this pepper.
Use: Use on grilled meats such as kebabs and grilled chicken, and serve with a cool yogurt sauce to temper the heat. For an exotic boost, add some isot pepper to a batch of traditional oatmeal-raisin cookies--the dried fruit quality will enhance the raisins, while the smokiness and heat will lend an air of extravagance.
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