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I recently learned that I am allergic to ALL forms of pepper except black pepper. Bell peppers, chili peppers, etc. I am allergic to and it makes my throat swell up. I have several recipes using ground chili pepper. Is there a substitute spice that will give my (mostly ground beef casseroles) recipes SOME flavor?

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related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/12562/67 –  Joe Apr 11 at 21:23
    
Do you know if you're allergic to capsaicin, or to something else in the peppers? If you're not allergic to capsaicin, you could probably buy pure capsaicin and add a tiny amout to dried tomatoes for a "pepper" flavor and texture. That's assuming you're not allergic to tomatoes as well, of course ... –  FuzzyChef Dec 16 at 7:21

3 Answers 3

I share your allergy and have for some time. First - I'm very sorry, it's not a fun one to have. Second - there are a lot of spices you can use that give color and flavor without going into the pepper family.

I have a recipe for a curry powder you can use: 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted 2 tablespoons whole cardamom seeds, toasted 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, toasted 1/4 cup ground turmeric 1 tablespoon dry mustard

It's adapted from an Alton Brown recipe (no cayenne) but the cumin still adds a bit of a kick without requiring an epi-pen.

Also - you can use wasabi in some cooking - it gives a bit of a bite as well. I also use tumeric, as it adds color as well as flavor. I use quite a bit of raw garlic and onion, as it gives a bit of a bite to food, but too much will leave a casserole bitter.

Hope this helps!

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DO NOT USE WASABI! "wasabi" which is marketed in the USA and Western Europe is generally 0-30% actual wasabi root, and the rest made up with powders from jalopenos and other chili peppers. This allergy sufferer would have a reaction. –  FuzzyChef Dec 16 at 7:19
    
@FuzzyChef I'm sure some products labeled as wasabi use chili peppers, but not all. Real wasabi can be found in the US, and others have horseradish and mustard, but no chili. Good point, anyone with allergies should read the label, but wasabi isn't necessarily verboten. See this answer for more: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/50329/… One of the ingredient lists is suspect because it lists "natural flavor", I don't know chili powder can fall under that or not. –  Jolenealaska Dec 16 at 21:13
    
Sure. But since the original question was about allergies, you shouldn't recommend a product which often contains what the person is allergic to without warning them. And yes, chili powder can fall under "natural flavor", but more likely extracted pure capsaicin can. And we don't know if the OP is allergic to capsaicin. –  FuzzyChef 2 days ago

You are not going to find anything outside the chili family that gives quite the same flavor, so substituting flavor-wise is not going to be possible. Note that paprika is a spice ground from particular pepper, so if you are allergic to all capsicum peppers, you don't want to use it.

What you can do is build other flavorful combinations which you enjoy and which you can eat. Some things to consider that bring a touch of some type of heat with them include:

  • Mustard powder (a touch of mustard-type heat, and a deep flavor. Probably want to combine with some herbs like oregano or rosemary.
  • Horseradish (just a touch for piquancy)
  • Ginger, which will work very well in Asian inspired dishes, and in combination with those flavors
  • Szechaun peppercorns (not a capsicum pepper) -- they have a unique flavor and effect; you will have to decide if you like them

All of these flavors are "hot" but from different chemicals than the capsicum peppers, so they will all have different effects.

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Galangal root is a possibility (more info). It's sort of like ginger that's been kicked up a notch on the hot/spicy axis. Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai stores will have it. There's also a powdered form available online. I've never tried that, but maybe it doesn't suffer the same terrible fate as powdered ginger.

Prickly ash (Sichuan pepper) and Japanese Prickly ash are other possibilities. The Sichuan pepper does add a funny sort of heat to things. I've never found the Japanese version to try.

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