Every time you turn on your favorite cooking show or browse through thick glossy pages of a cooking book, you will most likely come across the word "Paprika."
It does not matter what type of cuisines you're looking to prepare, Paprika is one of those crucial spices that need to be included.
However, many people tend to just ignore the part where the recipe says "paprika" and go ahead with the usual chili powder. This is primarily because people have this weird delusion that paprika is the same as any other ordinary chili powder. Spoiler alert – it’s NOT.So what does paprika taste like? And why does it play such a vital role in almost all the types of food recipes?
What is Paprika?
Paprika is a result of a grounded spice made primarily from a sweeter and larger classification of Capsicum annuum called sweet pepper or bell pepper. The spice level of paprika depends on the type and amount of capsicums used in making it.
The origination of Paprika is traced back to Mexico and Central America. Later in the 16th century, paprika was brought to Spain. It ultimately became one of the key elements in Spanish cuisine. A tradition that follows till today.
Also, contrary to popular beliefs, there are various types of paprika. Each of them has a distinct taste and uses as well.
What Does Paprika Taste Like?
Paprika has found such wide acceptance in the majority of cuisine traditions around the world due to their two key components – taste and coloring agent. Paprika has a distinct orange-red color appearance that makes them an ideal ingredient to give the dish a strong and spicy appearance.
The taste of paprika can vary from mild, sweet to hot, depending on the type of peppers used. The texture of paprika is also of very fine, unlike the grainy texture of the usual chili flakes.
The three main types of paprika are:
- 1Sweet paprika
- 2Hot paprika
- 3Smoked paprika
Sweet paprika, as apparent by the name, has a mildly sweet flavor and is usually made from bell peppers. They have negligible spicy texture, and hence, are used only for adding colors to the dishes.
Hot paprika has a very strong spicy taste. In fact, they are the hottest kind of paprikas. They are made from chilies that have thicker and spicier flesh such as bonnet pepper.
Lastly, smoky paprika has a distinct smoky flavor (as it is obtained by smoking peppers). The spice level can also vary from mild to hot, and the color also is much richer and deeper than the usual paprika.
Nutritional Value of Paprika
Paprika has a vast multitude of nutritional contents that has several health benefits. This is one of the primary reasons why it is widely used in many cultural cuisines. Paprika is rich in Vitamin A, E, and K, protein, fat, and carbs.
What Are The Uses of Paprika?
Paprika in the right sense is more like a Worldly spice. The regular and sweet paprikas are traditionally used just for adding colors to certain dishes as their spice level is negligible. Some of the basic food items that blend in well with paprika are soup, stews, pasta, deviled eggs, etc.
Every food cuisine around the world implements paprika in one form or the other. Their use also varies from one country to other.
In Mexico, they are widely used in various food items such as salsa, meat, and sauce.
In Hungary, paprika plays a key role and is used in various recipes such as chicken paprikash and goulash.
Different types of paprika have varying level of spice. Make sure you choose the right type depending on your recipe requirement, or you may end up with a very spicy dish unintentionally.
Paprika has a very fine texture and is easily blown away with any minute wind. Getting them in your eye can be dangerous. Hence, it is recommended not to handle them in a windy area or directly under a fan.
Paprika is one of the most versatile ingredients that blend in perfectly with almost any type of food recipes. Whether you want to elevate the appearance of your dish or simply enhance the spicy level, a few sprinkles of paprika does the job.
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