SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— I used to keep six different kinds of chili peppers by the stove, but I’ve cut it down to just one these days. The Aleppo pepper is named after a city in Syria. Most of it comes from Turkey now.
On the Scoville Heat Scale it measures 10,000 units, which makes it comparable to the Serrano pepper. A sweet bell pepper has no capsaicin (the component that makes peppers spicy hot) in it. An Anaheim chili has a couple thousand heat units and a Pablano is the next step above on the heat chart.
Then it starts to skyrocket. A Cayenne can be as much as 50,000 heat units. Once you get to habanero (the one we used to say was the world’s hottest chili) the heat starts to register between 200,000 and 350,000 heat units.
For those of you with a high threshold for spice, there’s one in India that was identified a few years ago called Bhut Jolokia that has one million heat units.
For me, the beauty of the Aleppo pepper is that it’s mild enough that you can use enough of it to be able to taste the sweet flavor of the pepper. Other peppers are simply too hot to do that and all you get is the heat.
It isn’t commonly available everywhere, but you should be able to find it at Middle-Eastern Markets.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
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