Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nepal pepper - Szechwan pepper, Sichuan pepper, Chinese pepper, (Z. armatum) - Timmur - (टिम्मुर, तिम्बुर)

Nepal pepper - Szechwan pepper, Sichuan pepper, Chinese pepper, (Z. armatum) - Timmur - (टिम्मुर, तिम्बुर)

Also known as ban timmur or Nepali pepper, this is a highly pungent, sharp tasting dried berry from the prickly ash shrub family.  It is often mistaken for black pepper, but has an entirely different flavor and is, in fact, not related to the black pepper family.

When the berry matures, it splits into two halves with a shiny black seed.  It has a rough, wrinkled, and uneven surface and the aroma lies in the split covering of the pod, not in the seed.

In the picture, the szechwan pepper,  red pepper and gooseberry (amalaa) are displayed together.  It was transported from the hilly area of Nepal in a doko (wicker basket).  It seems that the vendor did not have another container to separate her goods.  A local measuring devise called ek maanaa, adhaa maanaa, 1/4 maanaa is displayed.  The metal handy tool is used to measure spices, rice, lentils and other grains.

Close-up look of berries with black seeds

Crushed and finely ground  timmur - Nepalese describe its taste as "per-peraune" which means "biting taste with an anesthetic feeling on the tongue"  The spice should be used only in moderation; otherwise it will overpower the dish.

Timmur is most commonly used spice in Nepali pickles and chutneys. 

Five different measuring tools (similar to cups) are used here to measure timmur.

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  1. I have been using szechwan pepper from Nepa for the last few years. It gives a very distinct flavour to black lentils whole if it is added to the dish during cooking along other spices . It should be boiled in a little water like tea and after straining the liquid should be added. I have also used it in mulling red wine along with other spices and khukri rum and honey . I find it very effective in reducing pain in swelling gums.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I have been cooking "Maas ko daal" with Szechwan peppers.

      Sending you wam wishes.

  2. I need that above fruits for research..>Can u help me...

  3. We are selling Timur online in UK & europe with

  4. Thanks for the post, really interesting to know that this spice is used in Nepal. This is also known as Tirphala in Konkan area (Maharashtra), and TeppaLa by GSB Brahmins in Karnataka []. Used in place of asafoetida and garlic by the priestly class. Also used for seasoning fish curries. Known to be very good for digestion....:)

  5. Thanks for post.It is very mush usefull.