Cooking with Paprika Spice
Author: Michelle Scott Date Posted:31 May 2021
The Beauty of Cooking with Paprika
The intense red colour of paprika makes it a fantastic spice to keep in your pantry. By adding some fresh parsley and a generous sprinkle of paprika you can lift the presentation of any dish to spectacular.
Devilled eggs, hummus and potato salad are a classic examples of where a liberal shake of paprika makes a meal even more appealing.
However, the real benefit of paprika is in the flavour that it brings to your cooking. There are many different types of paprika available, but they can be roughly categorised into sweet, spicy and smoked. They all have their own specific uses. Take note of the type of paprika recommended in the recipe you are preparing and always bear in mind that they aren’t really interchangeable. Though once you have an understanding of the different varieties you can play to your heart’s content.
Some great recipes you may wish to try are:
To properly harness the flavour of paprika it is best to fry it in oil at the beginning of your recipe preparation. You can do this with any other spices you may be using for your recipe, however be careful not to cook paprika too hot or too long as that can make it bitter and affect the wonderful red colouring. You can add wine or any other water-based liquid after a few moments to help prevent this.
Another option that a friend recently shared with me was to sauté your paprika with your onions and garlic to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
TIP: If you inadvertently burn your paprika, discard it and start again.
While paprika’s colour and flavour can be diminished a little when cooking for long periods, adding a little extra at the end of the preparation time will freshen up your dish and bring back the intensity of the spice.
What is Paprika?
Paprika is made from capsicum annum or the red bell pepper that we are used to seeing in our supermarkets and produce stores. It is basically air dried and ground into a fine powder.
- Sweet paprika is purely dried and ground bell peppers. The sweetness is due to the high level of sugars such as glucose and fructose that naturally occurs in the peppers.
- Spicy paprika is made by adding cayenne pepper during production to create a spicier product.
- Smoked paprika is made by drying the peppers over smoking oak wood. This process takes between 10 and 15 days and then it is ground into a fine powder.
While most spices are used sparingly, this is not necessary in the case of paprika. Regardless of which type of paprika you use they are all fairly mild and can be used liberally.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers are high in vitamins and like most spices have a high level of antioxidants. They are rich in carotenoids which gives them their intense red colouring and antioxidant properties and one medium sized bell pepper provides over 150% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. Other vitamins and minerals found are B6, K1, E, A, potassium and folate. All in all this makes paprika a healthy spice to add to your pantry.
TIP: Buy your paprika in small amounts and store in a dark cool place in your pantry to ensure you are getting the best from your spice.