Pul Biber and Urfa Biber

Updated: Aug 11, 2021



This next Pantry post is a spice, or two spices really, that I have been cooking with for as long as I can remember because my dad has used it for even longer than that. Pul biber, also known as Aleppo pepper, I have known for longer and always took for granted. It is a form of dried, crushed chilli (Pul biber is literally "flake pepper" in Turkish) without seeds. It has a mild, warm heat but a beautiful depth of flavour with almost sweet overtones and a small kick of bright acidity.


Urfa biber, from the Urfa region of Turkey, is also a dried, crushed red pepper but in the drying process it retains some moisture and the colour ripens to a purplish black. It is also mild in its heat but has an even deeper, fruitier flavour than pul biber and tastes almost liked a smoked chilli. I use them either for a small kick of heat or to round out flavours, picking one depending on the depth and fruitiness of flavour I am looking for. Where sumac elevates, these bring round, background notes to a dish.


I add them usually during the cooking process while a dish is simmering, or just before putting it in the oven. It can be sprinkled on at the last minute, but in doing that you miss out on some of the flavour notes. I use it in all sorts of savoury dishes, including fried eggs, soups and roasts, curries (I know, I know, not ethnically correct, but if it tastes good, I don't really care...) and everything in between. Here are a few of the dishes I've used it in on the blog :


Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

Sicilian Spaghetti

Green Tomato Chutney

Pumpkin and Chanterelles Risotto

Chestnut Soup

Vegetable Tagine

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Ginger Soup


Here is a link to Pul Biber, and here is a link to Urfa Biber to find them on Amazon and try them out for yourself! (This is an affiliate link, meaning that I get a small commission if you order from there, but that does not in any way affect how much you are charged. You are simply supporting me a little).



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