Black pepper, native to southern India, is not only a favourite spice but acts as a medicine too. It has immense health benefits when consumed in small quantities. Full of vitamins A and C, carotenes, flavonoids and several antioxidants which protect the body from harmful free radicals, freshly ground black pepper is a must to have every day.
Here are a few medical benefits of black pepper which set apart this unassuming spice,
- Black peppers increase metabolism and thus aid in weight loss.
- They improve brain functions and keep diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay.
- Antibacterial in nature they help ease symptoms of a cough and cold.
- Regular consumption of black pepper aids in indigestion and constipation.
- They prevent cancer, and the benefit can be doubled by combining them with turmeric.
It is best to buy whole organic black peppers and keep a grinding mill on the table to use them freshly ground for maximum benefit. Organic peppers is the preferred way to have this spice as it is free from pesticides and chemicals and is pure without any harmful additives like papaya seeds!
These small black round pearls are indigenous to Indian cooking. Because of their medicinal properties they are used extensively in hot soups, rasams and khichdis. Try these easy to make and tasty recipes with black pepper to keep your pep up!
1. BLACK PEPPER PONGAL
This south Indian breakfast is a perfect start to the day. Full of the richness of cow’s ghee and organic black pepper it gives you enough energy to tackle the entire day!
Organic black peppercorns – 1 tbsp
Rice – 1/2 cup
Moong dal – 1/3 cup
Salt to taste
Cows ghee – 2 tbsp
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece sliced
Curry leaves handful
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts – 1 tbsp chopped
Dry roast the moong dal till it just changes color. Then, adding two cups of water, pressure cook the moong dal along with rice, turmeric and salt till the mixture becomes soft. Mash and keep this pongal aside. Heat ghee in a pan, add jeera, ginger and cook for 2 min. Add Asafetida, curry leaves, cashew nuts and black peppers and cook for 2 minutes before pouring on the pongal. Serve piping hot with coriander vegetable raita.
2. PEPPY PEPPER RASAM
Full of goodness of organic black pepper serve this rasam as a pre-meal drink or as an accompaniment to rice. Have it when you have a cold or indigestion or even when you want something spicy and hot!
Organic Black Pepper- 1 tbsp
Tamarind- 1″ ball, extract pulp
Tomato – 1, cut into small pieces
Curry leaves – handful, cut finely
Ginger- 1/2 “ piece chopped finely
Garlic – 3-4 cloves chopped fine
Green chili – 1, slit
Dried red chili – 2
Raii – 1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Jaggery – small piece chopped
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves – handful chopped finely
Heat the ghee in a large thick bottomed pan. Add mustard seeds, jeera, ginger, garlic, green chilli, red chilli and curry leaves, frying each. Now add tomatoes turmeric and salt to taste. Cook till tomatoes become soft. Add tamarind pulp, jaggery and 4-5 glasses water. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lightly crushed black pepper and coriander. Serve piping hot.
Cooking Tip: Don’t cook after adding pepper as this will lessen the efficacy of black pepper.
3. MATHRI KALIMIRCH
This North Indian snack finds a place in every home and every heart. Typically eaten with a spicy pickle!
Crushed organic Black Pepper – 1 tbsp
Whole Organic Black Pepper – 3-4 tbsp
Maida – 2 cups
Bombay Rava – 3/4 cup
Oil – 3 tbsp
Ajwain – 1 tsp
Thick curd – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Sieve the maida and mix the Bombay Rawa. Add salt, ajwain, freshly ground black pepper and oil. Rub with finger tips to mix well. Add curds and gently mix. Add just enough cold water to make a stiff dough. Keep covered for 15 min.
Roll out small Mathris. Place 1 whole black pepper in the centre and press well with the rolling pin till it breaks. Deep fry in medium hot oil till light pink. Cool and store in an airtight jar. Stays fresh for several days.