Turkish pepper paste, or biber salcasi, is a tasty red condiment made from sweet peppers. Make this recipe to use in your favorite dishes.
Do you have a favorite condiment – one that tastes so good you want to eat it with everything? Whether they’re spicy or sweet, pepper pastes are a favorite of mine.
Moroccan harissa, Korean gochujang sauce, and Middle Eastern zhoug sauce are among the top on my list of favorite spicy chili pastes. But sweet peppers can be used to make fantastic condiments as well
This Turkish red pepper paste can be made with or without spicy chiles. I prefer the one with a little heat. Basically, the condiment is to Turkish cuisine what tomato paste is to Italian.
Turkish Pepper Paste
Cuisine: Middle Eastern / Turkish
The sweet salcasi pepper is native to Turkey and apparently, it’s a bit finicky to grow. However, if it gets proper nutrition and water, it can leave you with a massive bounty.
Turks are known to get together with family or friends to clean and trim the fresh red peppers so that large batches of biber salcasi can be prepared.
Preparation: Sun dried, oven-roasted, or grilled
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Description: Thick condiment paste, deep red in color, with sweet and mildly spicy flavors.
Variations of Biber Salcasi
By no means is this a traditional recipe for Turkish pepper paste. For starters, it can be very difficult to find the Turkish peppers in the U.S. Secondly, there are many different variations of biber salcasi.
Some are completely sweet, while others (like this one) include a few chile peppers to kick up the heat. Additionally, some recipes call for drying the peppers out in the sun for several days.
While that sounds delicious, I want my recipe to be easy and quick to make. So, instead of sun drying salcasi peppers, I use a different approach, roasting sweet bell peppers in the oven.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
If you live in Europe or the Middle East, you may be able to get your hands on Turkish red peppers. If so, consider yourself lucky and definitely use them.
- Red bell peppers– If you live in Europe or the Middle East, you may be able to get your hands on some of the actual Turkish red peppers. If so, consider yourself lucky and definitely use them!
- Chiles– You can find fresh long red chiles in most Middle Eastern markets, known by the names Urfa biber or Isot pepper. They have a smoky, raisin-like flavor. Aci Kapya biber is another option, or use store-bought jarred red chiles, as shown in the photo below.
- Be sure to wear kitchen gloves, especially if you’re making a spicy pepper paste. Not only will the gloves prevent the hot chiles from burning your skin, but they also prevent the sweet peppers from turning your fingers red.
Turkish Pepper Paste FAQ
Yes, Turkish pepper paste freezes beautifully! Fill silicone ice cube trays with the paste, then freeze for 24 hours before transferring the cubes into freezer storage bags. Once frozen, they keep well for up to 9 months, so just reach in the bag and pull out individual cubes as needed.
Turkish Pepper Paste (Biber Salcasi)
- Preheat the oven or grill to 450°F. Remove seeds from chiles (unless using a jarred variety). Roast whole bell peppers and seeded chiles for 20 minutes on a baking sheet. Turn them over occasionally to char all sides. Remove from the oven or grill when the skins blister and are charred black. Transfer to a paper bag or leave on baking sheet covered with a kitchen towel to steam and cool down.
- When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from peppers. Use knife to remove stems from bell peppers, then pull away and discard the seeds and membranes.
- Rough chop the peppers and chiles and put into a food processor or high speed blender. Add the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Puree on high until a smooth paste forms.
- Place the mixture in a baking dish and "dehydrate" in the oven until it thickens to a rich paste consistency, baking for 12+ hours at lowest setting, stirring often (See Note 2).
- Transfer to a clean jar or container. Top with a tablespoon of olive oil to preserve freshness. Cover jar with lid and store the pepper paste in the refrigerator. Good for up to 7 days.
- You can find long red chiles in most Middle Eastern markets, known by the names Urfa biber or Isot pepper (they have a having a smoky, raisin like taste). Aci Kapya biber is another, or use jarred and canned varieties as pictured above.
- Another way is to cook it on low on the stovetop until it thickens and reduces to a thick paste. Be sure to stir often and keep a watchful eye so it doesn’t scorch. You could also use a food dehydrator (follow factory directions).
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.