Black pepper is good, but have you tried red pepper? Red pepper goes beyond a little spice and ascends into a full-on kick when added to a dish.
Diners have been spreading crushed red pepper on their dishes since the end of the 19th century. The preference started in Italy and quickly became a trend elsewhere following the discovery. Of course, red pepper was originally introduced to the public by Spain four centuries earlier.
So, what happens when it’s dinner time and there’s none in the kitchen?
As great as ground red pepper is, there are several options that can act as a substitute. The best choices are ground cayenne, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, dried pepper, and even hot sauce.
Naturally, the list doesn’t stop there, but those are definitely ingredients that many have in their cabinets. Ground cayenne is the closest match to ground red pepper since they are essentially made the same.
What sets ground red pepper and cayenne pepper apart?
Technically, it’s in the name. Red pepper comes from red peppers. Cayenne pepper is from the same Capsicum family but from the hot chili pepper. The two are as similar as you can get when it comes to peppers.
What makes cayenne pepper unique is the level of spiciness. This type of pepper is typically hotter than regular red pepper. Although, if you put enough red pepper on it, you might be able to mistake it for cayenne.
Can I use paprika instead of ground red pepper?
Similar to crushed red pepper, paprika is also made from dried peppers. Not just any peppers, either. Paprika comes from red peppers. Using paprika would definitely give you the red color many cooks enjoy seeing in their food.
It may be confusing to have two spices made from the same product. The main difference between the two, though, is the amount of spice. Paprika is a bit milder than ground red pepper. It’s also a finer material. So, yes, it can work to use paprika as a substitute. Just be prepared for a calmer entree.
Are Korean red pepper flakes the same as crushed red pepper?
At first glance, it might be easy to mistake the two spicy ingredients. However, it might be quite a surprise if they were mixed up on your plate. Korean chili flakes come out a bit sweeter, sort of a fruity flavor than red pepper. The flakes look similar to red pepper flakes but the Korean version comes sans seeds.
Ground red pepper has more of a darker taste but both are worth trying with different bites. Who knows when you may have discovered a new favorite?
Will black pepper create the same taste as red pepper?
Both ground red pepper and black pepper have one major goal. Their purpose is to add spice to food. In that regard, using black pepper is an adequate replacement for the loss of crushed red pepper.
Black pepper is made from peppercorns and red pepper is from the Capsicum family. The fruit from the plant is the chili pepper from which red pepper is derived.
Given that the species hail from very different origins, it stands to reason that what they bring to the table varies quite a bit. They are both spicy but the flavors are different. Therefore, no, the tastes create very unique end results.
Is red chili the same as red pepper?
No. Red chili powder is made from red peppers. These red peppers are cleaned of their seeds. Red chili comes from the seeds but not necessarily of red pepper. Red chili powder or flakes comes from any one of the spicy peppers, such as jalapeno, cayenne, or red peppers.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t just as valuable as red pepper in a recipe. They both offer a great opportunity to kick a plate up a notch with a very similar flavor.
Can you make homemade ground red pepper?
If you make it, they will come. To dinner, that is. Homemade is often better than store-bought because of its freshness and the ability to customize. So, how does one simply create ground red pepper?
To start with, you’ll need some actual red peppers that have been thoroughly cleaned. That includes the removal of seeds and stems. From top to bottom, slice the pepper in half and then in fourths. It will be much more manageable to use smaller sections.
Next, you’ll want to slice each piece into as many thin slices as it takes to cut the whole thing up. Once you’re left with pepper strips, leave them out to dry in the sun, if possible. If not, you can use an oven.
Leaving them out might take a few days to reach complete dryness. The best way to tell if the pepper is ready is to give it a good squeeze. If there’s any moisture, it needs more time.
When the time has come, throw all the strips into a blender until a powder results. If the blender doesn’t work, or you’d like to get physical, get out a pestle and mortar. Dry strips of pepper can be ground by hand.
If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t fret. There’s nothing wrong with buying ground red pepper or using a substitute. It’s hard enough to find time to do the things you need to do. Ground red pepper, like many ingredients, can be found inexpensively at your local grocery store.