What kind of a spice is it?
Timut pepper is a true pepper rarity, actually not a pepper, but the capsule fruit of a rhombus plant (Rutaceae). This prickly shrub Zanthoxylum alatum (synonym Z. Armatum) has a stature height of up to 10 meters. It is a close relative of the Chinese Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum bungeanum). In Nepal, this plant grows wild at an altitude of about 2000 meters, in the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and is not cultivated but grows wild. Its capsule fruits turn reddish brown when mature and break open. Inside there are up to 4 small black seeds.
Is the Timut Pepper professionally cultivated?
This delicious pepper is not cultivated. It comes exclusively from wild collections. The harvest is very complex and difficult due to the wild spread of the bushes. The collection is furthermore done manually by local residents.
How does this pepper variety look like?
They are small, dried berries that burst in the middle open when mature. They have a reddish brown color. Many Timut pepper berries have also a fruit stalk and even some still have the black seeds inside.
What does Timut Pepper taste like?
It taste is fruity just like fresh citrus fruits (grapefruit and lemon). It is sometimes referred to as a grapefruit or lemon pepper. It has a unique scent of lemons and is more aromatic than traditional Sichuan pepper. It is a bit spicy and leaves a slightly stunned sensation on the tongue, which is so typical of spices of the rhombus plants.
How do I use Timut Pepper?
Only the dried fruits are aromatic, the black seeds should be removed from the inside before use. They have no taste, but a sandy consistency.
Put the Timut pepper in a pepper mill or in a mortar and chop it before using it as a seasoning.
What can I use it for?
The fresh, sour taste of Timut pepper blends well with young asparagus or an artichoke puree. It gives fish and fine meat a very special aroma with a slight sharpness. It transforms a simple fricassee into a feast of the senses.
The Timut is firmly anchored in the Asian cuisine, because it is not a hot spice, it is still mostly combined with chilli. With its irresistible aroma, it spices up spicy wok dishes, curry, poultry, pork but also vegetarian plates.
Timut is also used for the preparation of desserts. Because of its unique taste a strawberry compote or pineapple sorbet gets a fruity-spicy note. You should use it just before serving the plate, freshly ground. It flavors dark chocolate, whether it's the dark overture for Florentine or home-made chocolate ice cream, whatever you prefer as a chocolate dessert, try it with some timut pepper.
How do I store it correctly?
Like all spices, Timut pepper should be cool, dry