Penja black pepper is a very valuable variety of black pepper which owes its particular characteristics to the soil in which it is grown. Thanks to the appreciation of numerous starred chefs in recent years it has undergone a real boom. The taste is very warm and intense with aromatic notes.

The plant and the fruit

As anticipated, it is one of the most popular varieties of piper nigrum in the world, and is defined by many as the best pepper in the world. The piper nigrum is a climbing plant belonging to the piperaceae family that can reach a height of 4 meters, it is a woody vine that climbs on the stem of other plants. The berry that is green at first and then becomes red when ripe contains only one seed. The leaves are oval 5 to 10 cm long and 3 to 6 cm wide, the flowers are sessile (attached to the main stem without a peduncle).

Characteristics of Penja black pepper

We will never tire of explaining that the same applies to pepper as oil and wine: the soil and climatic conditions have an important influence on the taste of the product. And then we come to the case of Penja pepper, its peculiarity is that it is grown on volcanic soil in an area rich in water, in the Penja valley, in the southwestern part of the Camerum. The harvest is done by hand by expert Cameroonian women before ripening and the fruit is dried in the sun for a few days. The resulting taste is commonly described with adjectives such as: powerful, aromatic, persistent for a long time in the mouth and warm. As for the aroma, which is very particular, we speak of notes of camphor and incense , someone speaks of eucalyptus but obviously camphor and eucalyptus are quite similar balsamic aromas. < / p>

The production of Penja black pepper

Production has increased a lot in the five-year period between 2010 and 2015, from just 18 tons per year to 300. 2015 was the boom year because to the ever-increasing popularity of renowned chefs from all over the world was added the awarding of the newborn African IGP brand (one of the first to be awarded) to the Penja pepper, which made the price paid to farmers soar and determined the migration of many of them from traditional coffee and cocoa to pepper.

Penja black pepper in the kitchen

Obviously a spice with such a strong taste finds its natural combination with meat dishes, even red ones and with tasty fish or soups . A more imaginative combination is with pears in syrup . For the recipe from the web we have chosen a recipe based on vegetables but rich and tasty of oriental inspiration.

Agretti tempura and thai sauce

Ingredients (for 8 people):

  • Agretti 2 decks
  • Flour “00”
  • 200gr Iced lager beer
  • 250ml Peanut oil
  • Salt 1 pinch
  • Pepper from Penja 1 pinch
  • Soy sauce 3 tablespoons
  • 1 small red chilli, finely sliced ​​
  • Garlic ¼ of a clove
  • Lemongrass (lemongrass) finely chopped 1 tablespoon
  • Lime juice 2 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce 1 tablespoon (if you follow a vegan diet you can replace it with pure soy sauce, soy sauce and mushrooms or water and fermented seaweed).
  • 1spoon cane sugar

1) Clean the agretti by removing the roots and washing them thoroughly under running water to remove all soil residues, then place them on a clean cloth and dry them well.

2) Prepare the batter:

  • sift the flour into a bowl and add the beer slowly.
  • Gently remove the various lumps with the help of a small whisk (do not beat energetically, so as to avoid dispersing the beer gas which will serve to make the tempura light).
  • Once a smooth and velvety cream is obtained, flavor with a pinch of salt and pepper, then let it rest in the fridge to cool it further (the thermal shock between the heat of the tempura and that of the oil will make the fried food very crunchy).

3) In the meantime that the batter rests, proceed to make the accompanying sauce:

Put the finely sliced ​​chilli and citronella in a small bowl

Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar.

Mix well and set aside

4) Pour plenty of seed oil in a saucepan and put it to heat.

5) Once the temperature is reached, take the batter and dip the strands of agretti (a few at a time) and fry them for a few moments, it will take about 30 seconds.

6) Drain them well and let the excess oil absorb by placing them on absorbent paper; continue until you have finished all the agretti.

7) Serve with the chilli and lemongrass sauce accompanied by a good glass of white wine.

Recipe source:


Data sheet

Carboidrati di cui zuccheri
0,6 g
44,5 g
3,3 g
0,01 g
0,99 g
Valore energetico (calorie)
304 Kcal
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