Spice in Focus: Urfa Biber (Isot Pepper)

What is Urfa Biber?

Urfa Biber (also known as Isot Pepper) is a crushed, dried chili pepper. The spice gets it's name from the region in Turkey it's grown in (Urfa) and the Turkish word for pepper (Biber). It's typically described as having chocolate, raisin, and coffee flavors. It has a little bit of heat as well. 

Urfa is a red pepper that turns a dark red on the vine. The peppers are sun-dried and go through a sweating process, where they are wrapped tightly at night, which helps preserve the moisture. This process darkens the skin. The pepper flakes range from deep purple to black. 

Urfa Biber Recipes

Urfa Biber is used in many Turkish and Kurdish recipes. It's great in eggplant and lamb dishes, but it works with just about any meat, in eggs, and in pasta sauces. Here's a bunch of delicious recipes that use Urfa Biber:

Eggplant with Urfa Biber Yogurt Recipe from Serious Eats

Turkish Style Poached Eggs with Urfa Biber from Wild Greens & Sardines

Turkey Kebabs with Urfa Pepper from New York Times Cooking

Grilled Cheese with Urfa Biber Chili from MJ's Kitchen

Venison Chops with Urfa Biber Blackberry Coulis from The Spice House

Chicken Schwarma with Tahini Yogurt from A kitchen in Istanbul

Egg Salad Recipe from David Lebovitz

Urfa Biber Brownies from Taste

Turkish Feta Walnut Dip with Urfa Biber Chili from Woodland Foods

Urfa Biber Garlic Infused Oil from A Brown Table

Where to Buy Urfa Biber

Urfa Biber is often carried in Middle Eastern grocery stores. It can also be purchased online from The Spice House

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