Urfa Biber (also known as isot pepper or isot biber) is a dried Turkish chile pepper that is cultivated in the Urfa region of Turkey. Urfa Biber begins as a red pepper and becomes a deep maroon color once it ripens. Urfa Peppers are sun-dried during the day and wrapped tightly at night.
The wrapping of the Urfa works to infuse the dried flesh with the remaining moisture of the chile. This process, known as “sweating,” heightens the complex flavors of the chile. Urfa Biber is at once smoky, sweet, spicy, and earthy. There are hints of coffee, red wine, chocolate, and raisins. Urfa chiles start off somewhat mild but gradually build to a respectable level of heat.
Urfa Biber chiles are most commonly used in lamb kebabs and other Turkish cuisine. Due to it’s spicy sweetness, it has also become a popular secret ingredient in desserts.