Melegueta is a spice that, for economic reasons, was used as a substitute for black pepper in the past
Grains of paradise were significantly cheaper than black pepper, which at times was also weighed in gold.
Today, melegueta pepper has its very own field of application.
Whereby pepper is a misnomer. The plant has nothing to do with the pepper plant. The seeds are a little spicy, just like pepper, and that’s how they have been given this nickname.
Sometimes melegueta is also called grains of paradise.
The plant of grains of paradise is native to East Africa (Guinea, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone) and is related to cardamom and ginger
In Europe, melegueta is not very well known, it’s used mainly in North and East Africa.
The seeds have a spicy, fruity, and fresh aroma with a slight cardamom flavor and are ideal for lamb, potatoes, and eggplant. They also do very well in stews.
Melegueta fits everywhere where black pepper would also fit
Try it on fresh strawberries!
The small, almost pyramid-shaped seeds grind well in a pepper mill.
In dishes that take a long time to cook, you can also add the seeds whole and simply cook them in the dish.
If you dry roast them, their aroma becomes even more intense. But be careful not to heat them too much, otherwise, they will become bitter.