What’s one of the world’s best kept foodie secrets? If you asked me, I’d say it’s Peppadew. I’m so excited by its sweet and spicy vibrancy, by its ruby red color, by its lingering heat, oh-so-pleasing, exciting and surprising on the palate, that I just want the whole world to know about it! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: My love for Peppadew runs deep.
But, what is Peppadew? As Chili Pepper Madness explains, “Peppadew” is the brand name of piquanté peppers grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa that have been pickled and sweetened. As the story goes, a farmer discovered the tiny pepper in South Africa in the 1990s and put it on the market. He described it as “peppery” but “sweet as the dew,” hence the name. It became very popular in South Africa in the 2000s, especially as a pizza topping.”
I first tasted Peppadew at a food show I attended when we lived in the UK. It was love at first sight and bite! I was taken by their unusual flavor, which is a mix of sweetness and heat. At first, you get an assertive taste of sweetness (which to me was surprising the first time I tried these peppers, since I expected them to be on the savory side). And then, just when you thought there was nothing else to discover, you get a hint of heat, whose subdued sophistication leaves you wanting more. Indeed, these carefully selected and exquisitely pickled small peppers grown in South Africa deliver a flavor punch- sweet at first, spicy to last, and superbly enticing and satisfying. Last but not least, their vibrant color and elegant size make them look great on the plate. Peppadew are sooo cute, aren’t they? 🙂
I was very happy when I discovered that I could buy Peppadew in the US – and even happier when Peppadew contacted me and offered to send me a healthy supply of their peppers and their new hot sauce to review. These sweet&spicy peppers are so mighty and versatile! I couldn’t wait experiment more with Peppadew, and to add to the collection of recipes already posted on this site. These peppers are great stuffed, in salads, on pizza, with baked chicken- the possibilities are endless!
The first dish I made were oven roasted ricotta & herb stuffed Peppadew with spicy broccolini- a delightful app for busy days, in my opinion.
I had this for lunch, with some Ezekiel bread. The smooth milkiness of the ricotta (from my beloved Caputo Cheese) coupled with the sophisticated heat from the Peppadew and the crunchiness of the broccolini made for a quick, easy, moderately spicy, and utterly delicious light meal.
I also used Peppadew in a vegetarian salad featuring Al Dente Pasta Company organic and vegan red lentil & sweet potato pasta.
I added evoo, cubes of sharp cheddar, fresh organic veggies, and freshly ground pink peppercorns. I think gorgonzola would work well, too.
Simple, straightforward, delicious!
During one of the colder days this past spring I also made a casserole with Peppadew, which featured organic quinoa, sweet bell peppers, mushrooms, red onion, eggs, cheddar, parmesan, and herbs and spices.
I served this as a side dish, but you can also serve it on its own with extra cheese and/or sour cream.
Just look at these beautiful colors and try to imagine the exciting flavors and mouthwatering aromas – believe me, they are incredible! Happiness at the dining table is guaranteed, or so I think 🙂
Last but not least, I used Peppadew in the baked chicken dish below, which featured one of the most vibrant and delicious sauces I’ve ever made, a satisfying combination of pureed Peppadew, tomato paste and spices.
I added corn, peas, and chopped fresh parsley on top at the end. The rich combination of sweet and savory, mild and spicy, made this dish one to remember. With each bite I took, I was hungry for more, felt nourished, and excitedly happy.
Peppadew sauce highlights the sweetness and heat of this amazing pepper in a small, concentrated format, that’s packed with flavor. I used it to top up a variety of dishes, including my veggie burger patties. The latest rendition of these very popular patties (a previous version of this recipe was published here) were made using equal quantities of pinto and garbanzo beans, which I soaked overnight, boiled, then mixed with sauteed veggies, Italian breadcrumbs, parsley, and harissa. I used eggs for binding, so these are vegetarian- you can find a vegan version of my burger patties here. I drizzled Peppadew sweet & spicy sauce – sooo yummilicious!
All in all, I am in love with Peppadew and I cannot recommend them enough. These tiny peppers are delicious in a variety of dishes, and their heat is remarkable. What I am equally impressed about is the subtlety – the nuances, paths, trials and tribulations on the palate. You think you know where you stand once you start eating Peppadew -but you are wrong. Peppadew pulls you in many different directions, but they do it in a charmingly orderly fashion. Theirs is a sophisticated game of pacing, of guessing, of marveling in stages (for lack of a better description). Try Peppadew to experience the delightful surprises packed in the ruby red flesh of South Africa’s mightiest pepper. I hope you will love it as much as I do.
Have you ever had Peppadew peppers before? Let me know in the comments 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.