Cubeb is an unusual and very hot spice grown in Sumatra, Penang and New Guinea. It is also knows as Java pepper, tailed pepper and tailed cubebs. It is the unripe fruits of a climbing pepper plant that grows like a vine. The dried unripe berries are used, and they look the same as the dried berries of black pepper – both come from the same family and are closely related. Cubeb berries come with little tails attached and, once dried, have a wrinkled, leathery appearance. Compared with pepper, cubeb is a lot more fiery and aromatic. It is used a lot in Indonesian cooking. If the berries are split open, some will have a small seed inside them, while others will be hollow.
• What are the origins and characteristics of Cubeb?
Cubeb likes rich clay soil with high humidity and lots of shade. It grows well in subtropical forests. The fruits are picked unripe and dried for use in powders, tinctures and liquid extracts or distilled for their oleoresin and oil, which are used by manufacturers to flavor sauces, relishes, bitters and even tobacco. The oil is also used in the production of perfumes and toiletries.
• What are the culinary uses?
Cubeb is used widely in Indonesian food as a hot and spicy pepper addition to rice dishes, curries and fish. It has a taste similar to allspice and can he used to replace this spice when necessary. Be careful-it can be quite bitter if too much is used. Read the rest of this entry »