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Rub Ingredient: Paprika
edited November -1
Just ran out of paprika. I have noticed different kinds of paprika such as indian paprika, hungarian paprika and just plain ol' paprika.
What's the diff? If a recipe calls for paprika, will any of them do or should I be picky?[p]Bob
Within reason, they're all the same. Powdered chili pods of a given (paprika, I guess) variety. Most of the store brand, and lots of the national branded, stuff is the same - pretty bland. My preference is for Szged brand imported Hungarian. Comes to two heats, mild and hot. The mild has a sweet tinge to it, the hot maintains the sweet with a bit of heat. Even with the hot, nobody's going to confuse paprika with any of our powdered chilis.
WudEyeDoo,[p]My best friend's mother is a Hungarian chef. She currently lives in Germany and recently made a trip to Hungary for some paprika. I asked her your question and here is her response:[p]Indeed, there is a world of difference between various paprika types. The plants themselves, when and how the peppers are harvested and are processed are all factors which contribute to the tremendous differences in the taste, texture, color and naturally, the end result in your recipe.[p]Without going into a long, boring dissertation, when cooking Mexican cousine, the slightly bitter, brownish or brick colored and smoky flavored Spanish or Mexican varieties of paprika is usually used. Watch out for the heat factor! If you use a sweet variety, you can adjust the heat to your liking with crushed pepper flakes or cayenne.[p]In Indian cousine, choose varieties at an Indian spice store for authentic flavor, various amounts are used in the infinite varieties of Indian curry mixes.[p]When cooking Hungarian or Central European dishes, where paprika is an integral part of the food, use Hungarian paprika. The flavor and color take on a very important role. Try to look for the Noble Sweet Variety (Szeged or Kalocsa are the regions in Hungary most famous for this spice.)[p]There are a dozen or so grades of Hungarian paprika. The Noble Sweet or better yet, if you can find it, the Equisite Noble Rose has beautiful bright red coloring power, distinctive flavor and no heat. The cold milling is one reason for this, no oils are destroyed in the process, no bitterness is imparted, no flavor is lost. Surprisingly, it is also rich in Vitamin C. (The Hungarian Dr. Szentgyorgyi is the nobel prize winning scientist credited with discovering vitamin C, how else, but working with paprika!)[p]Additionally, I can only suggest a trip to Hungary in autumn, when long strings of paprika are drying along the sides of houses in country villages of the paprika growing regions. You could then have it milled to your own unique specifications. Just had the pleasure of doing this myself.[p]Good luck in trying out your paprika recipes!
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