Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)
Pepper has an important role to play in the history of the spice trade. Its also called the ‘King of Spices’. Pepper has been moving westward from India for 4,000 years. It has been used in trading as an exchange medium like money. Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe drupes of the pepper plant..The drupes are dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried, the spice is called black peppercorn. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (dried ripe seeds). Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavour and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice.
Black Pepper – Names in different Indian Languages.
Hindi - Golmirch ,Bengal – Golmuruch, Gujrati – Mari, Punjabi – Kali Mirch
Tamil - Milagu, Urdu – Siyah Mirch
The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. It is ubiquitous in the industrialized world, often paired with table salt
Pepper is best ground directly on to food. For spicy food it is best to add pepper well towards the end of the cooking process, to preserve its aroma. White pepper is used in white sauces rather than black pepper, which would give the sauce a speckled appearance. Green peppercorns can be mashed with garlic, cinnamon or to make a spiced butter or with cream to make a fresh and attractive sauce for fish. Pink peppercorns are called for in a variety of dishes, from poultry to vegetables and fish. In Indian recipes it is used in day to day cooking of vegetarian and non vegetarian food either at the end of cooking for example in Bhujia Sabji (dry sabzi) or in curry paste along with ginger, garlic, coriander and cumin.
Pepper is best purchased as whole and grinding when required. Freshly ground pepper is vastly superior to the ready ground powder. A whole peppercorn keeps their flavour indefinitely but quickly loses its aroma and heat after it has been ground. Peppercorns are very hard but easily ground in a pepper mill. Dried green peppercorns can be reconstituted for mashing into a paste by soaking in water. Peppercorns losses flavour and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve pepper's original spiciness longer Once ground, pepper's aromatics can evaporate quickly; most culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before use for this reason.
Due to its spicy and bitter taste it is recommended to use in small quantity for example in Indian curry made for four people half teaspoon of ground black pepper is enough.