Red hot chilli pepper
Green when it is young and red when it ripens, andaliman pepper (Zanthoxylum acanthopodium) is a singularly unique ingredient from Batak cuisine. Closely related to Sichuan pepper, it is loved for its dazzlingly spicy, sharp lemon-y and tonguenumbing notes. It grows on the north Sumatran highlands and it is said that the best quality andaliman pepper comes from Samosir, an island in the middle of Toba Lake. The warmly numbing yet oddly pleasant sensation is addictive, and pose a challenge for a few brave chefs who tinker with it in their contemporary approach to Indonesian cuisine.
From the aromatic arsik carp to the savoury pork and blood saksang stew, the pepper is one ingredient that makes a Bataknese dish complete, says Nusantara by Locavore’s sous chef Liswani Sibagariang. “I haven’t found any other ingredient that come close to offering the same aromatic complexity of andaliman pepper. At the moment, it is mainly consumed by the Bataknese ethnic group. Supply is limited and the price exorbitant,” explains the Medan native.
Yellow spice of life
Be it ayam betutu, babi guling or sate lilit, all of them are created from the same spice paste that forms the