- In Depth
Name: Batak Pepper, Andaliman, Zanthoxylum acanthopodium
Origin: Samosir & Caldera Toba, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia
Farmer: Koopas Andaliman
Character: A fantastic spice that transforms your mouth into a citrusy heaven. Like its cousin, Sichuan Pepper, the Batak Pepper creates a tingling sensation with beautifully balanced lime tones. Very unique flavor palate!
Pair with: Citrus, ginger, chili, onion, elderflower, tomato turmeric, lemongrass, kaffir lime, garlic, coriander, black pepper, long pepper, galangal, curry leaves, ketjap manis, coconut milk, salmon, fish sauce, horseradish, sesame, rice vinegar, pizza, olive oil, tofu, thyme, pumpkin, curry, rhubarb, potato.
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Cooking with this amazing spice is a real privilege, as well as an exciting learning experience. It can take some tries before one knows how much to use, when to apply it, how to apply it. We are still very much in that learning space and you are more than welcome to join. It enhancer of taste. If you combine it with sour, that sourness will taste more, combine it with chili, chili will taste even more. It is almost as if the pepper opens up your tastebuds and makes you conscious of the many layers of flavor.
You can apply andaliman in different stages of your cooking. We use it both whole and ground. If used whole you will create these taste explosions. The Batak have their own unique food culture and recipes famous throughout the country. They also use the spice for many of the traditional Indonesian meals, giving the dishes a beautiful twist. Locally this spice is called Andaliman and is the preferred spice in most dishes whether it is fish, vegetarian, pork, chicken or beef.
The spice is a must at all big celebrations. It is said on Samosir, that if an admirer doesn’t bring Andaliman to their beloveds parents on their first meeting, than that admirer isn’t a partner worthwhile. Something to keep in mind!
Andaliman is actually not a “true” pepper of the piperaceae family. We call it a flower or citrus pepper, from the genus Zanthoxylum, a species of a flowering plant in the larger citrus family of Rutaceae. The family can be found all over the world, the most famous cousins are Sichuan, Sansho and Timut Pepper. Our Batak Pepper comes from the top of Samosir, in the vicinity of Lake Toba is the only place where they have been able to cultivate this spice through small scale agroforestry farming, on 1500m above sea level. We think that this due to its unique microclimate and volcanic soil.
Agroforestry is a method of planting crops within forests, that in turn sustains diversity and healthy ecosystems. Harvesting andaliman is a real art and takes years to master. The plant has big, slightly poisonous thorns that must be navigated by the farmers. Our Andaliman is grown on top of Samosir about 1500m above sea level, in the cloud forest using agroforestry practices. This is a method of planting crops within forests, that in turn sustains diversity and healthy ecosystems.
The location of Samosir is key to the taste and quality of our Andaliman due to the volcanic soil and microclimate. Andaliman is widely cooked with by the Batak people, a term used for a number of ethnic groups living predominantly in highlands of northern Sumatra. We are so proud to work with Koopas Andaliman and to be able to secure livelihood for over 150 families that are involved in the harvesting, sorting and producing.