pepperA more flavorful, spicier cousin of the small round peppercorn we grew up with. If  you like ground pepper, you’ll love ground long pepper. Photo courtesy of Bangkok




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Caitlin Barrett is a member of The Nibble editorial staff



October 2005

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Seasonings

Big Tree Farms Balinese Long Pepper

Complex Depth Of Flavor For Pepper Lovers



The folks over at Big Tree Farms are doing a good thing: in the humid tropics of Bali on the slopes of the island’s second highest volcanic peak, owners Blair and Ben Ripple have created a model for successful small-scale sustainable agriculture. The Ripples have come up with a way to get real income to Indonesian farm workers. They grow and harvest exotic ingredients and ship them all over the world to cooks who are thrilled to get their hands on interesting and hard-to-find ingredients.

Wildcrafted Balinese Long Pepper is among the many marvelous spices grown at Big Tree Farms. These unique peppercorns were once exalted by Romans as the ultimate peppery spice, costing three times as much as common black peppercorn, but disappeared into culinary obscurity with the agricultural domestication of their cousin, the small round black peppercorn. Long pepper still grows in the mountainous central highlands of Bali and is harvested from the wild forest surrounding the traditional coffee, vanilla and spice farm.

Long peppers look like tiny cattails and once ground, roasted or simply snapped in two, they release an incredible floral bouquet. The scent of these peppers is so earthy and complex that it goes beyond what would normally be called “floral bouquet.” This is the bouquet of the entire forest: flowers, trees, soil and all. The flavor has a depth and complexity has a depth not found in regular peppercorns, simultaneously releasing an earthy pungency (heat) and a sweet hint of cardamom and nutmeg and a slight fruitiness. Since long pepper is more pungent than black pepper, it adds a greater depth of spiciness and will be appreciated by those who enjoy the flavor of fresh-ground pepper.

These most special of peppercorns can be crushed using a mortar and pestle or ground in a spice mill, and used in any recipe calling for regular black peppercorns. We particularly liked the way they flavored skirt steaks and Bloody Marys, and they looked (and tasted) lovely when crushed and sprinkled onto sliced goat cheese and individual buttons. Two recipes follow, courtesy of Big Tree Farms.

long pepperBig Tree Farms Balinese Long Pepper is packaged in handmade, matchbox-style paper boxes, crafted locally and nice for host- and hostess gifts and stocking stuffers.

Watermelon and Long Pepper Shrimp Salad

Ingredients For Shrimp

  • 8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground long pepper
  • Coarse grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil to cook the shrimp

Ingredients For Salad

  • Long Pepper to taste
  • Coarse Grain Sea Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 hot chili, seeds removed, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh pomelo juice (or tangerine juice)
  • 1 lime, zested and cut into segments
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups watermelon, seeded and cut into small 1/2” cubes
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 sprig fresh cilantro
pepperThe growing peppercorns. Photo courtesy of the
University of Graz.


  • Combine the long pepper and olive oil in a bowl. Toss shrimp in the mixture and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  • Remove shrimp from marinade and season with sea salt. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the shrimp in the pan and cook until crisp (about 2 to 3 minutes). Drain on paper towels.
  • Combine lime zest, lime juice, pomelo juice, ginger, chili, long pepper and olive oil in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the watermelon, lime segments, mint and cilantro.
  • Just before serving, drizzle the lime-ginger juice over the top of the watermelon and toss to coat. Divide the salad equally among 4 small plates and top each with 2 shrimp. Sprinkle Coarse Grain Sea Salt over the top and garnish with torn mint.

Long Peppered Steak


  • 2 New York Strips, about 3/4 pound each (rib eyes are also great)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground long pepper
  • Coarse grain sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • Rub the steaks with the garlic cloves and then brush on the olive oil.
  • Put the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle them into a medium coarse grind, or try a quick grind in an electric spice mill. Sprinkle the steaks with the long pepper and coarse grain sea salt and let them sit for 2 hours. Heat a cast iron pan to med high.
  • Sear the steaks in the pan and use a heavy weight to keep the steaks pressed down firmly (we use aluminum foil-covered bricks.) When both sides are nicely browned, move the steaks to the grill over medium-low heat. Turn the meat every 2 minutes until done (approximately 7 minutes for medium rare).
  • Blend the parsley with the softened butter and lemon juice. Serve the steaks topped with a tablespoon of the parsley butter.

Enjoy the lively flavors of long pepper in all of your savory dishes!

Balinese Long Pepper

  • 4.4-Ounce Box

Purchase Online at

For more information about Big Tree
Farms visit

Shipping and tax additional. Price and
availability are subject to change.


balinese long pepper

To Go With Your Long Pepper  
typhoon cast iron mortar and pestle krups spice mill
You can grind long peppers in a traditional mortar
and pestle. We like the oversized cast iron ones from Typhoon ($42.74). Click here to purchase.
Or, go modern with a spice mill, like Krups electric coffee, herb and spice mill ($29.99). Click here to purchase.