Timur: Uttarakhand’s ‘Szechuan Pepper’ Is A Himalayan Gem
Image Credit: Timur

India’s love affair with spices goes back a long way. Many traders travelled continents and oceans in search of some of these spices. So, it is probably safe to say that the obsession is more than local. While most Indian spices are now a global sensation, there are many local spices and herbs that continue to make the regional food magical in their own ways. One such spice is Timur - also known as the ‘Szechuan pepper of the Himalayas’. As you must have guessed, the fiery pepper is used to spice up the curries, pickles, stews, and stir-fries. Besides Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Timur is also widely used in Nepali cuisine.

The Timur pepper belongs to the Szechuan pepper family and is grown only in the higher Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, Nepal, China, and Tibet. Red in colour, the pepper has many citrus properties akin to grapefruit. The pepper is hot, and if you eat a handful at a go, it lends a numbing effect on the tongue, a tingling sensation on lips and inner mouth.

The pepper is used to flavour curries, making them punchy and full of oomph. But besides curries, they are also being used in cocktails and alcohol now. Even the BBC recognised Timur as the zesty, exotic spice that the bartenders are using to give their creations to give their cocktails and classics like G&T a hot kick. Tempting, we must say.  

In Uttarakhand, the locals have been using Timur to spice up their preparations since time immemorial, they are also aware of its medicinal properties. It is replete with antioxidants, antioxidants fight free radical damage to your cells and help rev up your immunity, digestion, and overall health. It is also known to do wonders for toothache, due to its healing properties. Its antipyretic properties help fight fever. 

You would be surprised to know that the oil of Timur is used as a lotion to heal scabies, the oil is replete with antiseptic properties, Vitamin A, zinc, potassium, and iron. You only have to ensure that you are mindful of the quantity you use. Excess of Timur can also cause many health problems like indigestion and ulcers.