Long Pepper: An Ancient Spice Mistaken For Black Pepper

Long pepper is a spice that is frequently mistaken for black pepper and is used in Indian, Thai, Cambodian, and Indonesian cuisine. Long pepper, however, differs from its basic cousin in that it has a flavour profile that is closer to that of a spice combination than a single origin plant. This has a pleasant heat and hints of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. You can add it to lentil soup, roasted meats, barbecue sauce, and lightly cooked vegetables to give them a special flavour. 


Long before peppers were well-known, the pippali, or long pepper, which is frequently mistaken for black pepper, was used to impart heat to meals. KT Achaya, a historian, claims that this unusual spice was one of the first spices ever recorded in India. Even 4,000 years ago, it is thought to have left the southern parts of India. Hippocrates reportedly employed it in his therapeutic work around the sixth century BC.  

This spice-cum superfood also grows naturally in India's northeast, west Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, madhya pradesh, maharashtra, kerala, karnataka, and Tamil Nadu's tropical rainforests. However, as they were exported together, pippali was frequently confused with black pepper. In addition to enhancing food flavour, this distinctive spice has a number of health advantages.  

Health Advantages 

Numerous contemporary research continues to support the efficacy of long pepper, which is mentioned in numerous ancient scriptures and Vedic writings as having health advantages. It promotes weight loss, treats digestive and respiratory problems, and regulates blood sugar levels. Studies have even shown the spice to have antimicrobial and antidepressant qualities. Additionally, according to Ayurveda, it can control high menstrual flow and relieve period pains. 


Regular black pepper, which is what you typically see on dining room tables, is the dish that most closely resembles the long pepper taste. It has the same peppery taste, but with a little more heat, earthy overtones, and a sneaky sweetness. In addition to the fundamental black pepper flavour, it could also have hints of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

Culinary Use 

Long pepper can be used like any other spice, especially black pepper. Among other things, it can be added to savoury pastries, blended into soups, or spiked into Southeast Asian noodle bowls or fried rice. For use in meals that call for a subtler spice, grind the long pepper first. For chunkier cuisines like stew or curry, use the pepper whole. Depending on the required level of spiciness, long pepper can be used in a one-to-one substitution for other peppers. Because of this, Indian long pepper isn't as spicy as chilli peppers; rather, it has a mild, earthy heat that quickly wears off. 


Long pepper can be kept for months or even years in an airtight container in a cool, dark location because it is typically purchased dry. To preserve the maximum flavour, keep long pepper intact. Try to consume the ground long pepper within a few months if it has been ground. Although it won't spoil, the spice loses some of its pungency as it ages.