What is the best pepper in the world? Look no further than the Kampot pepper. Considering the sheer amount of seasoning products widely available to us today, finding the best organic pepper can certainly be a daunting task.
With the events of 2020 and beyond keeping most of the world indoors, home cooking has rarely been as popular as it is now.
- Why is Kampot pepper the best?
- What does Kampot pepper taste like?
- How do you use Kampot peppers?
- What are the health benefits?
- Where can I buy Kampot peppers?
As our collective taste buds grow into this new era of creating something special from the spice world while locked away at home, filling our salt grinder and pepper mill with exotic strains of seasoning looks to be becoming the norm.
Focusing on the world of pepper today, we’re going to answer a few questions for you. Need to know what the best whole peppercorns are? Well, look no further than Kampot pepper.
I know, know, we don’t always have the energy to whip up a storm in the kitchen. Luckily for you, these organic peppercorns are like having your own personal secret ingredient to hand, leaving anyone you’re cooking for deliciously bemused.
Why is Kampot pepper the best?
Down in the foothills of the Damrai Mountains pepper farmers, farming conditions for whole peppercorns flourish.
The hot, humid weather and the ground elevation make for the perfect environment to produce the vines from which these little balls of flavor are plucked, as the heavy clay soil offers a superior aroma and taste to most other cracked black pepper you’ll find in pantries across the world.
Farmed outside of the city of Kampot, just three miles from the stunning Gulf of Thailand, these organic peppercorns are cultivated by hand free from the use of artificial fertilizers. As the salt of the earth as pepper can get, basically.
With an almost raisin-like appearance akin to that of tellicherry peppercorns, the flavor is something very different than the usual ones associated with Asian pepper.
What you’re tasting here is an ancient tradition. The use of Kampot peppercorns dates back to the 13th century when the ancient tradition of farming these was largely the same as it is now.
For centuries, the people of the region enjoyed the delights of its smokey, floral notes, so much so that French colonials in the 19th and 20th centuries started exporting it back to the West, where they really become a fixture of food cooking in Europe.
Production halted during the Cambodian Civil War between 1967-1975 but the turn of the millennium has seen a boom in its popularity with even Anthony Bourdain name-checking it on one of his shows. If it got his approval, then you know we’re dealing with something of high caliber.
What does Kampot pepper taste like?
The world of these whole peppercorns is a varied one, and you’ll find them popping up on veal dishes in Europe as well as adding a vivacious vibrance to Vietnamese food.
The organic red pepper is very rare indeed. Made from ripe pepper fruits that are unpeeled, these pepper balls are very pungent, ripe, and hugely aromatic.
Meanwhile, the white peppercorns will give your dish a more subtle flavor, as white pepper tends to do in Asian cooking. These are made when the long pepper fruits and berries are soaked in water to dissolve the skin and then dried out in the Cambodian sun.
Finally, the black peppercorns are what you’d most associate coarse black pepper with, only with a slightly more citrusy feel. With a strong yet somehow delicate aroma, these are spicy yet sweet and have floral notes of eucalyptus and mint.
Whereas Szechuan peppercorns tend to have a mouth-numbing quality to them and the Thai green hot peppers that contains more nut-like notes, Kampot peppercorns will linger longer in the mouth with a unique tint of tang.
How do you use Kampot peppers?
Like everything in your spice bag, specific dishes can bring out the best of these peppers.
So, how do you cook Kampot peppercorns?
The more fruit-like notes of the crushed red pepper are ideal for sweeter dessert dishes, while the white’s more subtle flavor is perfect for a soup or a broth, akin to the West African alligator pepper.
Why not even try and season an otherwise boring bowl of mashed potatoes with the white? That subtle hint will thrill and bring a background noise
Kampot black peppercorns are largely used on red meats as a luxurious topping though it’s important to add right at the very end or leave on the side for your guests as, like garlic, it can become rather bitter if overcooked.
Take a peppercorn sauce to the next level with a few of these flavorful bullets or bring smoked, floral tones to balance the saltiness of a fish sauce by using the cracked black pepper.
Coarse black pepper and lime would also make a wonderful topping to grilled chicken or seafood such as crab.
Honestly, the possibilities are endless, even including adding another depth of layer to exotic butter to stuff meat, fish, and whole peppers with. Just imagine how much more interesting a roast chicken would be if the white pepper was perfuming the skin while it cooked?
Or a chicken kiev packed full of garlic butter boasting the citrusy charm of the black peppercorns.
As much of a luxury as these can be, don’t be afraid to sprinkle Kampot peppers on your whole foods.
What are the health benefits?
Kampot pepper’s health benefits are plentiful. Kampot Black peppers can help improve stomach health, increasing the production of gastric fluids to aid in the dissolving of food and fighting cholesterol. The red peppercorns balls offer support in fighting nerve damage and move to prevent liver disease, while the white peppercorns are useful for bone and tooth strengthening.
See, by cooking with these organic peppercorns, you’re really doing your body a favor.
Where can I buy Kampot peppers?
While these are reasonably rare Cambodian peppercorns, the wonders of the internet can deliver these to your door.
And yes, to our Ozzie cousins, you should be able to bring Kampot peppers into Australia as long you declare them. Pantries in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth can rejoice! Our own Salt’s Up offers worldwide shipment of the black, red, and white Kampot peppercorns, as well as a set of gourmet peppers that include the smokey taste of the black pepper.
From Singapore to Siem Reap, Canada to Copenhagen, the UK to the US, we’ll have you covered.
With all three colors of this most luxurious of peppers, Salt’s Up can offer you a service few can match.