Grains of Paradise

Purchased grains of paradise for a pie recipe and it was incredible. I love the spice and the history of it. Does anyone have other recipes using grains of paradise? Thanks!

  • Posted by: SKK
  • April 20, 2011


Greenstuff April 21, 2011
What a good article that is! I've kept grains of paradise as a staple in my kitchen since I first read Amanda's Cooking for Mr. Latte. It was very clear that she loved them, even before she found Mr. Latte. I'm printing that article out and keeping it with the book.

They used to be a little tricky to find. Recently, the shop around my corner started to carry grains of paradise in jars with grinder tops. The same company has have another pepper substitute with a grinder top--Indonesian long pepper. I'm enjoying its hot, spicy flavor. It's really fun to have the alternatives.
dymnyno April 21, 2011
I use grains of paradise instead of black pepper.
SKK April 21, 2011
Thank you for the article, Amanda. Illuminating! The recipe that had me purchase grains of paradise was for an apple pie.
sarah K. April 21, 2011
My mom has a love affair going on with grains of paradise. She first started using them while going through Lorna Sass's "To the King's Taste: Richard II's book of feasts and recipes adapted for modern cooking." This is a delightful book, and could possibly change your relationship to foods, since the recipes have uncanny combinations of sweet and savory that you may not have thought of. The definition of grains of paradise on pace 130 reads, "the aromatic pungent seeds of a tropical West African plant. Boorde says, "Graynes be good for the stomake and the head." Grains are related to cardamom, which may be used as a substitute."

Here's a recipe from page 89:

Black Sauce for Roasted Capons

This sauce is full of interesting taste surprises, and would complement fowl of any kind.

2 Tablespoons chicken fat
1/2 pound capon or chicken livers, minced
1 cup verjuice (a makeshift verjuice can be prepared by combining 3/4 cup grape juice and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar)
3/8 teaspoon each finely ground grains of paradise, aniseed, and powdered ginger
salt to taste
1/4 cup ground bread crusts

1. Melt chicken fat in a medium-sized skillet.
2. Brown livers until there are no more pink spots.
3. Combine verjuice, spices, and salt.
4. Pour over livers and stir to combine dregs with liquid.
5. Add bread crumbs and simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.
6. Check seasoning before serving.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
boulangere April 21, 2011
Thank you, Amanda!
Gourmando April 20, 2011
Here's a recipe for a spice rub (don't know where I got it):
Tunisian Five Spices
Called qalat daqqa in Arabic, this blend is used in vegetable dishes and with lamb.

2 tsp black peppercorns ?2 tsp cloves ?1 tsp grains of paradise (Melegueta pepper) ?4 tsp grated nutmeg ?1 tsp ground cinnamon

Also a link to a recipe for black cod which is slightly different from the recipe that accompanied Amanda's 5/3/2000 article
Amanda H. April 20, 2011
Grains of paradise were once a substitute for peppercorns. Here's a story I wrote about them in the Times (recipes included!):
boulangere April 20, 2011
I am totally ignorant and stumped and wait to be enlightened.
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