Nov 30, 2016

Chicken Rogan Josh

Chicken Rogan Josh kashmiri recipe curry easy authentic indian

In Persian, Rogan means fat or ghee and Josh means intense or boiling. Rogan Josh made with mutton is a traditional dish of Kashmir and was introduced by the Persian speaking Mughals. This recipe uses chicken in place of mutton for a delicious red curry. Although lavishly spiced this dish is more aromatic in flavor than fiery hot. The chicken is seared until golden brown then braised until tender in the rich and velvety sauce. Perfect for a chilly Fall or Winter day served with rice and a few piquant chutneys.

Chicken Rogan Josh kashmiri recipe curry easy authentic indian

As is the traditional Kashmiri manner the chicken is first browned in salted ghee and oil then set aside. Browning the chicken in salted oil gives it a bit of a savory crust as well as leaving delicious drippings for making the sauce. The sauce is then made with layer upon layer of flavors. The Kashmiri mirch, fennel, dry ginger, cassia, cloves, black and green cardamoms are all authentic flavors of Kashmiri cuisine. Tempering the yogurt gives the sauce that velvety texture. Finally, the sauce and chicken are combined to slowly simmer to meld the flavors. The sauce is quite soupy as it is served with rice like most Kashmiri dishes. (If you'd prefer a thicker gravy then grind the onions to a smooth paste before frying.) Kashmiris probably wouldn't use the cassia leaves but I find their delicate fragrance enhances the flavors so I put them in. Enjoy!

1kg/2lbs chicken, skinless and cut into 8 pieces with bone in
2 TBS cooking oil
2 TBS ghee/clarified butter
3 onions, sliced thinly into half moons (or ground into paste for thick gravy)
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
2 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 cassia leaves/tej patta (optional)
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
2 C water or stock
1 TBS dried mint (optional for garnish)
Grind for masala:
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi
5 green cardamoms/elaichi,
6 cloves/laung
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 tsp coriander seeds/dhania
Mix until smooth for sauce:
1 cup full fat yogurt/dahi
1/2 tsp flour/maida (this will keep the yogurt from splitting)
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch (or 1&1/2 tsp paprika plus 1&1/2 tsp cayenne)
2 tsp ground fennel/saunf
1 tsp dry ginger/soonth
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil or ghee with 1 teaspoonful salt in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 7 minutes. While oil is heating mix yogurt together with spices and flour as listed for sauce until smooth and set aside. Grind spices listed for masala and set aside.

2) Fry chicken pieces in hot oil and ghee for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Set fried chicken pieces aside on a plate.

3) In same pan fry sliced (or ground) onions until beginning to brown. Add garlic paste, ginger paste, cassia leaves, cassia bark and spices ground for masala. Fry for about 2 minutes or until raw smell is gone from garlic.

4)  Remove pan from heat and add yogurt mixed with flour and spices to fried onion mixture. Stir well and return pan to heat. Bring mixture to a simmer. (This tempers the yogurt to give it a smooth texture.) Allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes. If mixture begins to scorch or stick reduce heat, add 1/4 cup water and stir well.


5) After 5 minutes return the fried chicken pieces to the pan with the onion, yogurt, and spice mixture. Stir well. Add 2 cups water or stock to the spice and chicken mixture and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through and oil separates from the sauce. Salt to taste and garnish with dried mint if desired.

Helpful Hints:
I do find that sometimes chicken can get a bit dry when cooked this way. To prevent that I usually soak the skinless chicken in a brine solution of 3 tablespoons salt to one liter/four cups water for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator. Before fryimg rinse the chicken pieces well  and dispose of the brine solution. This really makes for tender, juicy chicken!

Nov 28, 2016

Happy Holidaze....

A whopping 14 inch poinsettia flower atop the neighbors' 8 foot high tree. (Yes, poinsettias are trees here!)

Oh, it's that most wonderful time of the year! I'm certain there were some INTERESTING family chats over Thanksgiving dinner in America after this year's election. I hope you survived Black Friday. I know when I lived in the US I'd go into self imposed exile from Black Friday until mid January as the frenzied holiday shopping put me in a less than festive mood. Thank Allah for internet shopping, eh?

In other news, it was my husband and my blog's birthday last week on the 25th too. Above you see the coconut tres leches cake I made hubby for his birthday. (It had to be a sheet cake as it needed to travel so pardon the awkward crop.) And yes, over 90,000 views and 188 posts later I'm still blogging!

I've had a lot of fun learning about blogging and food photography. I'm sure my readers are very happy to see my photography progress from the atrocity you may witness above. (Really, Bibi, what were you thinking? Could that photo be any more over exposed and over saturated? What's up with that angle? The dish looks like it's tipping over! The yellow's dialed up to near oblivion! The focus is on the garnish fergawd's sake! ) To the less atrocious photo you see below-

Yay! I've improved. If you peruse the internets you'll see a lot of abandoned blogs. Apparently bloggers who continuously improve are less likely to give up blogging. It doesn't seem to matter how slowly you improve, as long as you IMPROVE. A lot of food bloggers leave the photos from their early posts to show how much they've progressed in the quality of their photography. Eh, I don't know. Some of my early stuff I think I need to reshoot (and have) because the photos are so bad no one would ever try the recipe! And those recipes are really good! Plus, the idea of this blog was to put my recipes in writing with attractive photos so I can publish them in a book for my relatives and friends later on. I'm really liking photography, maybe someday I'll get a REAL camera instead of just using my smartphone? 

In other news, India's demonetization scheme is still a mess. Tourists in India are now only allowed to exchange 5,000INR a week. (That's a meager $73USD!) To add to the fiasco the federal banking authority of Nepal declared last Friday that Nepalis should not accept the new Indian 2,000 or 500 INR notes as they have not determined if they are legal or not yet. So I wouldn't advise visiting India for quite a while! If you're not carrying Indian rupees though- Nepal's not having problems so come and visit! 

Here's a 4 pm local traffic jam at our crossroads involving a tourist bus, a school bus, six buffalo, and a truck unloading gas cylinders. Last year at this time there was an ongoing political border blockade between Nepal and India so you would have seen hardly ANY vehicles as petrol was scarce. The gas cylinders you see in the above photo were being rationed as a result of the blockade too. What few gas cylinders that got through the blockade were rationed and therefore chained together with name tags on them. This year there's no rationing and no problems! You'll be happy to know those water buffalos eked their way between the oncoming school bus and the tourist bus.

Just so you don't think it's all rocks and livestock roaming the streets here - this is one of our local 5 star properties, the Himalayan Front HotelThe hotel is nestled in the perfect location of Sarangkot with magnificent mountain views from every luxurious room. There's plenty to do if you tire of lounging around the pool! Hiking, paragliding, zip flying, birdwatching, souvenir shopping, or a cultural tour of the local village are all just minutes away.

Just look at that view! Amazing, huh? 

That's all the news that's fit to spit around here, stay sane during these Happy Holidaze!


Nov 22, 2016

Chettinad Style Egg Curry

Chettinad Style Egg Curry black pepper, chettinad, eggs, Indian, recipe, south, spicy, tamil nadu, curry, gravy, kuzhambu, easy, vegetarian, hard boiled,

Chettinad is a region of southern India famed for it's vibrant and fiery cuisine. Hard-boiled eggs are tossed in a delectably spicy sauce in this signature dish from the area. Black pepper, cloves, cumin, red chili, and cardamom are first freshly ground for maximum flavor. The spices are then simmered to perfection recipe in a rich tomato gravy that compliments the richness of the eggs. Best served with steamed rice or hot chapattis.

Chettinad Style Egg Curry black pepper, chettinad, eggs, Indian, recipe, south, spicy, tamil nadu, curry, gravy, kuzhambu, easy, vegetarian, hard boiled,

I've been making this recipe for so long I've forgotten where I got the recipe. I think it was from the Times of India. It has become a family favorite at our house. At the time I had never heard of an egg curry or egg gravy dish. This recipe is quite spicy and definitely for those who like a lot of heat. Not for the timid in taste at all! Get your best Tellicherry peppercorns out for this dish as they're the star of the show here! The pepper is beautifully balanced by the cumin, cloves, cardamom, and coriander. Kashmiri mirch adds an extra dimension to the black pepper's pungent heat but does not overpower it. The spicy sauce over hard boiled eggs is a brilliant take of the old classic combination of cracked black pepper and eggs. You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't wish to. Another way to serve this dish is to shallowly score the hard boiled eggs a few times end to end with a knife so they'll soak up a bit of the sauce. Either way, this makes quite a tasty lunch or dinner served with rice or chapattis. Enjoy!

5-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
3 TBS cooking oil
1 C onion, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 tsp black mustard/rai seeds
3 large tomatoes (about 1&1/2C) chopped roughly or pureed
Grind until smooth for masala:
3 green cardamoms/elaichi
3 cloves/laung
2 tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp coriander seeds/dhania
2 tsp cumin seed/jeera
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne)
1 tsp shahi jeera/black cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all spices listed for masala into powder and set aside. (I used an electric coffee grinder.)

2) Heat oil and 1 teaspoonful salt in a kadhai or deep heavy-bottomed skillet for 7 minutes. Fry peeled hard boiled eggs on oil about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (If you wish to be authentic and have yellow fingers for weeks you can rub the eggs with a bit of turmeric.) Put fried eggs aside and continue to next step.

3) Add mustard seeds to the same salted oil and fry for a minute. Add finely diced onions and fry until golden brown. 

4) Add ground masala powder, garlic paste, and ginger paste to fried onions. Stir well and fry for two minutes. Add masala powder and tomatoes to mixture and allow to simmer for five minutes or until oil separates from the mixture.

5) Add 1 cup of water to the fried mixture and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is to desired consistency. Salt to taste and stir in fried hard-boiled eggs. Serve with rice and or chapattis.

Helpful Hints:
You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't wish to. Another way this dish is typically served is with the hard boiled eggs shallowly scored a few times end to end with a knife so they soak up a bit of the sauce.

The shahi jeera/black cumin is traditional but it won't alter the flavor of the dish is you leave it out. Its delicate flavor gets a bit covered up by all the pepper and cumin anyway.

Nov 21, 2016

Ingredients: Red Millet, Finger Millet, Ragi, Kodo, Keppai

Red millet, finger millet, ragi, kodo, and keppai are all names of an annual plant grown as a cereal across Africa and Asia. Red millet was originally a native of the Ethiopian highlands of Africa but has been cultivated in India since the Iron Age. This hardy plant thrives in a variety of climates and can be made into a wide range of nutritious foodstuffs and alcoholic beverages. 

Eleusine coracana or red millet growing in the neighbors' field

Red millet or Eleusine coracana is called kodo or ragi in here in Nepal. It is usually planted during the arid Fall and Winter after the Monsoon season in Nepal. It is often interplanted with pigeon peas or maize as you see in the above photo of my neighbor's field. Red millet is extremely pest resistant and once harvested the seeds store nearly indefinitely. Freedom from moulds or insects and long storage capacity make red millet an important crop in risk-avoidance strategies for Third World farming communities. With a 1 tonne per hectare yield, it has the highest productivity among millets grown in the world. The straw from red millet can be also used as animal fodder.

Red millet is a nutritious source of calcium, iron, fiber, and the essential amino acid methionine. Methionine is often lacking in the diets of vegetarians and cultures who subsist on starchy staples such as rice and maize. As an essential amino acid methionine is important in angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. Red millet's high fiber content and low glycemic index score make it an excellent choice for those suffering diabetes too. It is also easily digestible and gluten-free.

Dhido thali

is a traditional food in some areas of Nepal made from a thick paste of boiled red millet flour. You will find dhido eaten as a staple in areas of the Himalayas where the altitude and aridity do not allow the cultivation of wheat or rice. It is a lot like mush or polenta with a bit of a nutty flavor. Dhido is usually eaten with a dollop of butter or ghee accompanied by pickles, chutneys, curried vegetables and yogurt. It is served steaming hot as it hardens upon setting. To eat it you tear off bits by hand and dip it into one of the tasty sides served alongside. 

Kodo ko Roti

Red millet is also eaten as a pancake like flat bread called kodo ko roti. The millet flour is mixed into a simple batter with water and a pinch of sugar. The batter is then fried in a bit of ghee. Kodo ko roti is usually served with a variety of pickles, chutneys, and dal. To eat kodo ko roti one tears off a piece of the roti and uses it to scoop up the condiment of choice.

Nepalis are avid home brewers and distillers. Red millet is used to make a variety of alcoholic beverages. In the photo above you see an earthenware and copper still with firewood underneath it ready for use. There are many similar types of stills in various sizes in different communities across Nepal. Earthenware is preferred to for the fermentation process. Copper is preferred for distilling since it removes sulfur-based compounds from the alcohol that would make it unpleasant to drink. 

Rakshi is a traditional distilled alcoholic drink made from red millet or rice in Nepal and Tibet. It is clear like vodka and is reputed to taste much like Japanese sake. Rakshi is not aged before consumption and is usually stored and sold in plastic fuel containers as you see in the above photo. In 2011 Rakshi was deemed by CNN to be of the world's 50 most delicious drinks and was described thusly, "Made from millet or rice, Rakshi is strong on the nose and sends a burning sensation straight down your throat that resolves itself into a surprisingly smooth, velvety sensation. Nepalese drink this home brew to celebrate festivals, though some think that the prized drink itself is the reason to celebrate."

Newari lady in Kathmandu pouring rakshi from an anti (brass pitcher) into a pala (small clay bowl) for drinking

Rakshi is often served during special occasions in Nepal.
The alcoholic drink is poured from a great height via a brass pitcher with a small spout making an entertaining spectacle. This requires an expert hand and is an an art in itself.

Tongba containing chhaang with a perforated bamboo straw

Chhaang is a fermented beer often made from red millet in Nepal and Tibet. To drink chaang a fermented mash of red millet is first placed in a special drinking vessel called a tongba as you see in the above photo. Hot water is then poured into the tongba and left to steep for about five minutes. A fine bamboo straw with a perforated filter tip is then used slurp up the diluted alcohol out of the fermented mash. Hot water is replenished in the tongba until the all alcohol has been extracted from the mash.

Nutritionally, ecologically, and gastronomically, red millet is a truly versatile grain that is making a comeback in South Asian cuisines. During colonial times red millet was considered a coarse grain suitable only for the laboring classes. Nowadays, red millet is touted as a fashionable and healthy 'super food.' One can find all sorts of delicious preparations of red millet such as laddoos, biscuits, halva, and pakora all across the Indian subcontinent. (As well as alcoholic beverages.)

Nov 18, 2016

Shine on, Super Moon

This is  Bibi's attempt at artistically photographing the recent the perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system. According to some folks the pull of this close brush with the moon is affecting all our brains as well as causing earthquakes. Who knows? Everything's been so nutty lately maybe they're right.

And here's the last of this year's moonflowers in keeping with today's lunar theme. I still am amazed every time they open. It looks like someone ironed those perfect pleats in those gloriously huge eight inch blossoms.

These are our resident lunatics having a love-in of sorts. Mama Chinger is looking quite content atop her daughter Tikka on the bottom left and His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan on the bottom right.

Box + Cats = Bliss.

Yes, this is the way HIM the Baacha Khan sleeps. So much for regal mien, eh?

And lastly, HIM the Baacha Khan decided to try on the gardener's backpack. Something about HIM's expression reminds me of Ben Stiller in Zoolander. FIERCE.

That's all the lunacy going around here up at the Himalayan Hovel. Modi's ill thought out demonetisation is wreaking havoc across the subcontinent RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PEAK TOURIST SEASON. I'm not even daring to think about what's next in this wacky world.

Nov 16, 2016

Lucknowi Chana Dal (Yellow Split Peas with Caramelized Onions)

Lucknowi Chana Dal (Yellow Split Peas with Caramelized Onions) recipe soup easy indian vegan vegetarian

Lucknow is a city in northern India steeped in the royal traditions of the Mughals. Chana dal is Hindi for split yellow peas. In this recipe the richness of caramelized onions gives humble yellow split peas a regal air in true Mughal tradition. A touch of cumin and green chili is just the right amount of spice in this velvety version of split pea soup. A surprisingly easy dish that can also be made vegan. Pairs perfectly with rice and chapattis or simply served as a hearty soup on a chilly Fall or Winter's day.

This recipe is adapted from one of my most recent cookbook acquisitions, Betty Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyer. I think it's hilarious that good old American Betty Crocker did an Indian cookbook. I know Betty Crocker did some rather Americanized Mexican and Chinese cookbooks, but I had no idea there was an Indian one. Those of you who collect Indian cookbooks will probably recognize the author, Raghavan Iyer. Mr Iyer is the author of the much lauded cookbooks 660 Curries and Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less. He does do a good job of presenting recipes from all over India in this beginners' tome. The photos are nice and the book is very well made with high quality paper and binding we've come to expect from Betty Crocker.

Lucknowi Chana Dal (Yellow Split Peas with Caramelized Onions) recipe soup easy indian vegan vegetarian

This is the best recipe in the entire book. This recipe is so easy and the best split pea soup I've ever had. Even my anti-veg mutton-a-holic brother-in-law loves this dal! I initially had my doubts about this recipe as it had only four ingredients - but this has truly become a family favorite! I did make some adjustments to the recipe though. The original recipe called for caramelizing six onions in two tablespoons of ghee or oil and one cup of yellow split peas. Frying six medium sized onions in two tablespoons of any fat is wishful thinking. Even with a non stick or Teflon pan you're going to end up with a burnt mess. (This book was written in 2001 when America was still in it's fat-phobic frenzy so I'm sure Mr Iyer was told to keep oils to a minimum.) Plus that is A LOT of onions! Mughal and Muslim recipes tend to be a bit onion heavy but that's bordering ridiculous. So I decreased the onions, upped the quantity of yellow split peas to one and a half cups, and increased the cooking oil to three tablespoons. The result was perfection! I use a mixture of ghee or butter and cooking oil because I find that ghee or butter alone can get a scorched taste when frying onions this long. You could certainly skip the ghee or butter and use three tablespoons of cooking oil to make this dish vegan. The key to this dish is getting the onions properly caramelized. If you're in a western country that doesn't have the pinkish Indian onions just use the commonly available yellow onions for the same flavor. There is a little trick I've learned to speed the caramelization of the onions if you're the impatient type like me, I'll put that at the bottom of the page under Helpful Hints if you're interested. Otherwise simply slice the onions as evenly as you can and fry them over medium heat with a watchful eye. Then mix the caramelized onion mixture and cooked peas together to simmer for a bit and enjoy!

1&1/2 C yellow split peas/chana dal
6 C water
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
2 TBS cooking oil
1 TBS ghee or butter (just use cooking oil to make this recipe vegan)
1 C onions, thinly sliced into half moons
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2-3 green chilis, chopped finely (use less or omit for less heat)
chopped cilantro, chopped red chilis, sliced red onions (optional for garnish)

Here's what to do:
1) In a 5 quart pressure cooker or deep stock pot combine yellow split peas, 6 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. Allow steam for 4-5 whistles if using pressure cooker. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer partially covered for 30 to 45 minutes if using stock pot. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water, stir well, and reduce heat.

2) While peas are cooking heat cooking oil and ghee in a deep heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai. Fry onions for about 10 minutes or until a golden brown. Add cumin seeds and chopped green chilis to fried onions mixture, stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove skillet or kadhai from heat immediately. You want your onions caramelized not burnt, err on the side of underdone than over done. Burnt onions are bitter and will ruin the dish.

3) Stir the fried onion mixture into cooked peas. Partially cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors. The fried onions will float upon the surface of the boiled peas at first. Then after about ten minutes they meld together.

4) Allow mixture to keep simmering until peas are to desired tenderness. You can leave the peas slightly firm and holding their shape or cook them down to velvety smoothness. It's all about what you like! Add a bit of water, reduce heat, and stir well until dal is to desired consistency. Salt to taste, garnish if desired, and serve hot with rice, rotis, or as a soup with buttered bread. 

Helpful Hints:
A little trick I learned on one of these food and science websites to speed up the caramelization of onions is to add a little baking soda while frying. You want to wait until the onions just start to turn brown at the edges, then add about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of onions being fried. Raising the pH to a slightly alkaline level will cause the onions to caramelize faster so watch them carefully. The slightly alkaline pH will also cause the onions' cells to lyse so you'll end up with a sort of paste. A paste of caramelized onions is fine for this dish as we're going to simmer them in with the boiled peas until they disentegrate anyway. Now, if you're trying to make the onions that are fried to a delicate crisp called birista - DO NOT use baking soda. 

If you're in a western country where the pinkish Indian style onions I've shown in the above picture aren't available then use the more commonly found yellow onions. Do not use red or purple onions as they are too sugary and will scorch rather than caramelize.

Lucknowi Chana Dal (Yellow Split Peas with Caramelized Onions) recipe soup easy indian vegan vegetarian

Nov 14, 2016

Ingredients: Pink Peppercorns

Pink peppercorns are not peppercorns at all. They are the dried fruits of two trees native to Brazil (Schinus terebinthi­folius) and Peru (Schinus molle).  Nouvelle cuisine gave rise to pink peppercorns' popularity in the 80's as a colorful garnish or a part of a decorative blend of white, black, and green peppercorns.

Popular 80's Gourmet Multicolored Peppercorn Mix
Pink pepper­corns are named for their shape not for their flavor. They are not particularly pungent, but rather mild and a bit sweet. Pink peppercorns should not be confused with the true ripe red peppercorns from the Piper nigrum vine that have a muted red or brownish hue and a distinctive peppery pungency. Both pink peppercorns and true red peppercorns are available either dried, freeze dried, or pickled in brine. True dried or freeze dried ripe red peppercorns are a very rare and expensive spice. 

Schinus molle fruit and leaves
Pink peppercorns are the dried fruits of two trees native to Brazil (Schinus terebinthi­folius) and Peru (Schinus molle).  Schinus molle is commonly known as the California peppertree, the Brazil peppertree, and the Peruvian peppertree. To add to the confusion the closely related Schinus terebinthi­folius tree is also called  Brazilian peppertree, the broadleaved peppertree, Florida holly, and Christmasberry. The Schinus genus is a member of the Anacardiaceae family which means both trees are related to cashews, pistachios, and mangoes. No sizable amount of the problematic and inflammatory uroshiols common to the Anacardiaceae family have been found in pink peppercorns. However, it is recommended that those suffering nut allergies should avoid pink peppercorns. The fruit and leaves of both Schinus Molle and Schinus terebinthi­folius have been reported to be potentially poisonous to poultry, pigs and possibly calves.

Schinus terebinthi­folius fruit and leaves

The Schinus molle tree is a common sight across California. You will commonly see them growing in groves around old Spanish missions in California. It was once mistakenly thought to be a California native before it was determined that Spanish priests and settlers brought the seeds from Peru and planted them. The Spanish prized the strong wood of the trees for use in making saddles. The long lived and prolific trees did indeed thrive in California's hot and arid climate. They have now become an invasive pest threatening native species in California, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and Australia.

A Schinus molle tree breaking up the sidewalk in San Francisco
Pink peppercorn trees are actually very beautiful with graceful, willowy branches, gnarled bark, and bright red clusters of fruits. Unfortunately nothing will grow under them. You'll have a continuous carpet of semi evergreen leaves that drop year round and pink peppercorns that freely reseed EVERYWHERE. 

Textured Trunk of Schinus molle
Pink peppercorn trees also grow quite fast with their beautifully gnarled trunks reaching up to six feet in diameter. Their roots grow large and near the surface so they will break up concrete side walks and expensive in-ground swimming pools. I have fond memories of peppercorn tees in California though. No matter how hot and dry it was the peppertrees would always be bright and green. I loved the brittle crunch of pink peppercorns under foot and their light peppery fragrance. We used to make wreaths, garlands, and table centerpieces out of their brilliant red peppercorns and bright green leaves for Fall and Winter holidays. 
Gourmet Food Fad of the 80's- "Peppercorn Medley"
What do dried pink peppercorns taste like? Not much of anything really. I've heard their flavor described as delicate, fruity, berry-like, sweet, chili-like, aromatic, juniper-like, punchy, and pepper-like. Personally, I think they taste and smell faintly like black pepper with a bit of tart sweetness. I can see pink peppercorns' appeal as a colorful garnish, their mild flavor suiting fruits and fish, and their delicate crunch adding some textural interest to a dish. Those pepper medleys and mixes of pink, white, black, and green peppercorns are a bit silly in my opinion. Pink peppercorns' delicate flavor is completely lost when combined with the strong flavors of black, green, and white peppercorns. If you'd like a pepper mix with an exotic and aromatic flavor, you'd be better off replacing the pink peppercorns with allspice. Or use the traditional French spice blend quatre épices which is a varying mixture of black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and or cinnamon. A traditional Indian garam masala would be another good choice of a pepper mix depending on the dish.
Sublime Pink Peppercorns adorning a Mint Stewed Fig nestled in Vegan White Chocolate Mousse atop a Vegan Cookie
Other than a trendy garnish I don't see much use for pink peppercorns. I think they need to go they way of other silly 80's fads like giant shoulder pads, giant hairdos, irrational exuberance, grim optimism, overt materialism, and cosmetic application that looks like warpaint. When I researched this I had no idea that pink peppercorns were related to cashews, mangoes, and pistachios and a possible problem for people suffering nut allergies. That alone would make me hesitant to serve them. If you do find yourself needing to use pink peppercorns do be advised that they break apart easily. They should be crushed with a knife or a mortar and pestle, not a pepper mill. As they are so fragile, they're better purchased in small quantities to ensure top-quality freshness.
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