One of the most exciting spices I’ve recently come to love is Urfa chile, named after Urfa, the region in Turkey where it is grown. The main difference between Urfa and other similar chiles is the drying process. Urfa chiles are slowly sun-dried during the day, wrapped at night to steep in their own moisture, and then eventually ground into flakes. Because of this, the dark brown flakes remain oily, never completely drying out.
And how do you use Urfa chile? The raisin and tobacco flavors make this chile unique, so don't just use them to add a little heat as you might with Italian chile flakes. Instead, use them to add a sultry and warming element to vegetables and braised meat dishes, or try using Urfa in any recipe that calls for finishing with black pepper or substituting it for red pepper flakes. I also love it mixed in with mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, or added to pasta sauce for an addictive, smoky depth.
Urfa Chile, $4.71 for 55g at ottolenghi.co.uk