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July 07, 2008

Long Pepper

I've been toying for awhile about whether or not to write this post. You see, long pepper is a wonderful spice, as a flavour and as a medicine, but it's awfully hard to find. I don't want to tempt you if you'll never be able to buy it anywhere. I'm yet to find a stockist online, but recently found a shop in Melbourne (Peter Watson, Fitzroy) which stocks it amongst their small but incredible spice range.

Long pepper, pipalli in Sanskrit, was once a common culinary spice, though it was often confused for other species of pepper. Before the introduction of chilli to Europe long pepper was the spiciest spice out. It is sweeter and hotter than black pepper. If you give it a bash in your mortar and pestle you will see it is made up of lots of tiny round black fruits.

You may recognise long pepper from the sickly sweet smell it gives to chyawanprash. (Don't be decieved by the smell though because it packs quite a punch!) It is also one of the three ingredients of Trikatu, alongside black pepper and ginger powder, a combination which is many times more heating than the sum of it's parts.

Long pepper is a powerful medicine for Kapha. It's firey nature make it excellent for burning ama, but over use can be very reducing. It is too volatile and potent for Vata in large amounts, and too hot for Pitta. Long pepper is an aphrodisiac, digestive, emetic and carmitive. It is used for the Kapha version of many ills including depression, asthma and cancer, due to it's highly stimulating nature.

In the kitchen you can try adding it to chai, in very small amounts, or you may find it in the Morrocan spice mix ras el hanout. If you are lucky enough to have a supplier and are feeling quite extravagant try this long pepper and chocolate pudding.


Lucy said...

A typical kapha-type, I'm intrigued by the long pepper and resolve to get my hands on some.

Herbies, an exceptionally good online spice shop based in Sydney do, indeed, sell long pepper online ( ).

Shall try out the chai idea! Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I really love it...
You must taste it.Usually it is ground and mixed with other spices given with honey.The taste stays for a while and increases salivation.Its adviced not to drink water for sometime to get the full effect of it.Its generally given to babies while introducing solids and in the post partum period.

Julia said...

Thanks Lucy! That's great news. I'm only living in Melbourne for a few more months so it's good to know I'll be able to get hold of it anywhere.

Anon, that is very interesting, I'd love to learn more about pregnancy, birth and childcare in Ayurveda. Where did you learn?

Anonymous said...

I thought of Herbies immediately, as Lucy did. I have heard of pippali a lot in the occasional ayurvedic courses that I have attended. So you have motivated me to get some.

Where are you going after Melbourne? I hope you keep your blog up, I love it.

Julia said...

I am moving back to Fremantle, which is my home. I'm very happy about it!

I hope to keep my blog up, I learn a lot from it and love hearing from you lot.

Anonymous said...

We just use them in our everyday life as part of home remedy passed from one generaton to the next .It does help a lot in recovering after delivery.

Julia said...

Thanks Swapna, so many Indians learn about Ayurveda at home, you are very lucky!