Turkish Biber Salçası & Yoghurt Dip

Whenever we are in Istanbul, I make a point of buying several hundred grams of biber salçası, a popular red pepper paste available in both hot (aci) and sweet (tatli) versions. It keeps in the fridge in a sealed container for weeks and weeks; just make sure that you label them correctly because when the Turks say hot, they mean HOT! This is a great condiment, especially in the winter when a couple of tablespoons of the stuff will transform a robust winter soup. If you can’t make it to Turkey, I’ve included a recipe for the paste below; obviously we are not able able to sun-dry our peppers on our rooftops as Turkish women do, but oven roasted peppers are not a bad substitute. The second recipe here (shown in photograph) is for my Turkish biber salçası and yoghurt dip, a great accompaniment to succulent roast vegetables and gutsy salads featuring bulgar wheat and other pulses.

Pepper Paste & Yoghurt Dip

biber salçası (red pepper paste)


3 long red Romano peppers, de-seeded and sliced in half
3 long red chillies, de-seeded and sliced in half (use less if you want a sweeter paste)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste

How I make it

Heat an oven to 200C.

Place the peppers and chillies on a baking tray and roast them for around 20 minutes, turning them once, until their skins are blistered and charred. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

When cool enough to handle, peel the skins away from the peppers and roughly chop the flesh. Scrape the flesh from the chillies with a knife and place in a blender with the peppers. Blend to a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and season to your taste.

Place in a sealed container and keep in the fridge. This doesn’t keep as long as the paste I buy in Turkey but there are plenty of ways you can use it; as a marinade, for example; on top of pizzas or simply spread a thick layer on sourdough bread and eat with tangy feta cheese.

Biber salçası & yoghurt dip

1 tbsp biber salçası
6 tbsp of Turkish or Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil

How I make it

Mix together the biber salçası, yoghurt and oil.

If you’re feeling fancy, serve scattered with chopped pistachios.

Please check out my Pantry and Source pages to discover more about the ingredients I use, the brands I love and the places I source them from.


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