The Maras Chile is a medium-hot red pepper, admired for its flavor: fruity and acidic, with musty, earth-like undertones. Originating from the Turkish city of the same name, in the Kahramanmaraş region in SE Turkey [near Syria], Maras chile is still relatively unknown in the United States.
After a lengthy process of drying the peppers [but not until all crispy like with Latin American chiles], the Maras chile is then crushed or ground. Maras and Urfa peppers are central to Turkish cooking -- like our own black pepper. Maras chile is subtle, hot and sweet, with a surprising acidity.
In Turkey, Maras chile is used in everything from meat dishes like kofte and kebabs, egg dishes like menemen (a sort of frittata), to rice pilaf. Use Maras chile in any recipe that red or black pepper is called for. Try Maras chile in ground meat or meatball recipes, for a surprising kick in a vinaigrette, or even as a flourish on a grapefruit and avocado salad.