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Encyclopedia > Grains of Selim

The term Grains of Selim refers to the seeds of a shrubby tree, Xylopia aethiopica, found in Africa. It is also known as Guinea pepper, kimba pepper, African pepper, Moor pepper, Nigger pepper, Kani pepper, Kili pepper, Sénégal pepper and Ethiopian pepper. The seeds have a musky flavor and are used as a pepper substitute. It is sometimes confused with grains of paradise. [[{{{diversity_link}}}|Diversity]] {{{diversity}}} Binomial name Xylopia aethiopica Trinomial name {{{trinomial}}} Type Species {{{type_species}}} {{{subdivision_ranks}}} {{{subdivision}}} [[Image:{{{range_map}}}|{{{range_map_width}}}|]] Synonyms {{{synonyms}}} Xylopia aethiopica is an evergreen, aromatic tree, growing up to 20m high. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Binomial name L. Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. ... Binomial name Aframomum melegueta K. Schum. ...

As a spice the whole fruit (seed pod) is used as the hull of the fruit lends an aromatic note (with the taste being described as an admixture of cubep pepper and nutmeg with overtones of resin) whilst the seeds lend pungency (they are also quite bitter). Typically the dried fruit would be lightly crused before being tied in a bouquet garni before being added to West African soups (stews). In Sénégal the spice is often sold smoked in markets as Poivre de Sénégal (the whole green fruit is smoked giving the spice a sticky consisitency) and when pounded in a pestle and mortar this makes an excellent fish rub. These, however, tend to be the larger pods of the related species Xylopia striata. The Republic of Senegal is a country south of the Senegal River in West Africa. ...

In West African cookbooks, especially those from Cameroon, the spice is referred to as kieng, but the language that name is derived from is unknown.


Use in cuisine

The pods are crushed and added whole to soups or stews, then removed before serving the food. Smoked pods can be ground before being used as a spice rub for fish. // Look up pod in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


  • The Oxford Companion to Food, by Alan Davidson, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211579-0
  • Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages [1] (accessed October 26 2005)
  • Celtnet Spice Guide [2] (accessed July 19 2007)

External links

  • Recipe for West African Peanut Soup incorporating Sénégal Pepper

See also

  Results from FactBites:
How I Found Livingstone, by Henry Morton Stanley (chapter5) (9854 words)
On its southern and eastern side stretch the cultivated fields which supply Bagamoyo with the staple grain, matama, of East Africa; on the left grow Indian corn, and muhogo, a yam-like root of whitish colour, called by some manioc; when dry, it is ground and compounded into cakes similar to army slapjacks.
The road was a mere footpath, and led over a soil which, though sandy, was of surprising fertility, producing grain and vegetables a hundredfold, the sowing and planting of which was done in the most unskilful manner.
Selim was struck down with a severe attack of ague and fever, and was soon after followed by the cook, then by the assistant cook and tailor, Abdul Kader.
  More results at FactBites »



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