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Paprika, revisited

fiver29 Posts: 628
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
WudEyeDoo posted a question asking about the different types of paprika. I posted this response to their thread. I thought I would re-post it so it doesn't get lost in the mix. I thought it too good not for everyone to see. I passed their question to my best friend's mother who is a Hungarian chef about the different types of paprika. I can vouch for the differences as I have sampled many a cuisine by her. I also can't wait to see her this holiday season as she promises to bring some of her paprika home!! Here was 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!

Strongsville, Ohio

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