Selim Pepper comes from Ghana and is a substitute pepper used within North Africa. It is sometimes called Moor Pepper or Grains of Selim and is often confused with Grains of Paradise. Selim Pepper has a smoky, musky and resiny taste with a hint of pepper, but no real piperine heat or warming feel to it.
A must for West African stews. Selim pepper is also called Negro pepper, grains of Selim, moor pepper, Senegal pepper, uda pods and kieng, which all reveal its ancient derivations and prejudices. Selim pepper comes from the custard apple family, Annonaceae, and is from the plant, Xylopia aethiopica, and is native to tropical Africa.
The Selim pepper berries are encased in curved pods of 2.5-5cm in length, and there are approximately 5-8 berries per pod. The immature pods are green and grow in finger-like clusters at the centre of the plant, which on drying turn a dark brown colour.
Selim pepper is aromatic and resinous, relatively pungent and mildly bitter. In Senegal, selim pepper is often sold smoked, being smoked when still green giving it a sticky consistency, then sold as Poive de Senegal, and when pound down makes a great fish rub, while in Nigeria it is used in pepper soup blends. Selim pepper is used within regional African cooking in meat and vegetable dishes, with ideas available at Celtnet or the gorgeous Pepper Soup blog by Kitchen Butterfly.
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