• Buy a bottle or make your own pepper paste (biber salçası). (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

By Turkish standards, this yields a modest amount, so feel free to double or even triple the quantities. The time the paste takes to reduce and thicken will depend on the size of your saucepan so choose a large one with plenty of surface area for evaporation if you are making a larger quantity. Choose hot paprika if you want a slightly spicy paste. Char the capsicums over a hot barbecue or even under an oven grill if more convenient than gas, although using the oven won’t give you that lovely smoky flavour.

500 ml





Skill level

Average: 3.2 (176 votes)


  • 6 large red capsicums
  • 6 large red bullhorn peppers
  • 3 tsp sweet or hot paprika
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp salt, approximately

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Working in batches, place the capsicums and peppers directly over a low gas flame and cook, turning often, for 8-10 minutes until they are well charred all over. Transfer to a large bowl then stand for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove the blackened skin, stems and seeds then transfer the flesh to a food processor and process until a smooth puree forms.

Combine the puree in a large saucepan with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium then reduce  heat to low. Cook, stirring often, for 45- 50 minutes or until a very thick puree forms - a wooden spoon should leave a trail through the paste when you draw it along the base of the pan. Cool the paste to room temperature then transfer to a sterilised jar and pour a layer of olive oil over the surface to seal it from any air. Cover with a lid then refrigerate until needed. Pepper paste will keep, refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. 


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.