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Etnia

Branden 100 grams

Branden 100 grams

Normal price €12,50 EUR
Normal price Offer price €12,50 EUR
Unit price €125,00  per  kg
Offer Out of stock
Including VAT. Shipping costs will be calculated at checkout.

Merkén or merquén is a blend based on the grind of the smoked Ají cacho de cabra, the goat's horn chili. It is a specialty of the Mapuches, an indigenous Chilean people, who call this chili caciocavra.

The Slow food foundation supports the cultivation of this caciocavra and the coriander that is inextricably linked to the merquén mixture as traditionally made in Nagche and Wenteche in the Araucanía, an area in the south of Chile where many Mapuches live. 

The still green goat's horn chilies are picked in February, when they are about to turn red. By drying them in the sun, the chilies initially turn violet. Now it's time to smoke the chilis. They are smoked for no more than half an hour over a eucalyptus wood fire. After this, the chilies are left to dry in the sun for a second time before being ground. This is actually already an end product, comparable to the Spanish pimentons, but a semi-product for the production of brands. Previously, merquén only contained chili pepper.

The ají cacho de cabra is an almost two thousand year old capsicum annuum species, classified as a Chilean-Peruvian landrace. It was already cultivated during the Moche civilization in northwestern Peru, nowadays mainly in the Maule region, La Araucania, and in Peru in the valleys in the provinces of Chiclayo and Lambayequem.

The Mochica were arable farmers who lived from 100-750 AD in northern Peru in various valleys along the coast. Their habitat was four hundred kilometers long and extended eighty kilometers inland. They used advanced irrigation systems to grow their crops. They even owed their prosperity to it. Civilization came to an end after a period of heavy rainfall, followed by three decades of persistent drought (El Niño).

Merquén is a very special mixture. It is the ancestor of all chili powders. Merquén embodies the way the Mapuchs held out against the European conquerors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by tactically utilizing European skills and  integrating them into their own culture. This is how the coriander came into their brands, which were originally made purely from chili pepper.

Merkén symbolizes the steadfastness of the Mapuches and has only recently attracted the attention of chefs all over the world, interested in 'forgotten' products. Because that's it, until 2000 the outside world was not familiar with the product. Our Merquén is made according to a traditional Mapuche recipe with raw materials that come from various parts of Chile. It is made from this specific chili, roasted coriander, and some salt.

Many merquén outside Peru is made with locally grown chilies, generally not goat horn chilies.

Work is underway to protect the species name. Seen in that light, inclusion in the Slow Food Foundation's Ark of Taste is a necessary first step.

Usage

The Cacho de cabra is one of the most important chilies in Mapuche cuisine, and from that tradition has found its way into modern Chilean cuisine.

It is often dried and ground for use in marinades and dishes such as chili con carne and in soup. After hydration, the pepper is used in sauces and pastes. The best-known use is in merquén, to which the pepper owes its nickname ají merkén.

Traditionally, the Mapuches use merquén in mashed potatoes - the Mapuche area is the origin of a large number of potato cultivars - and around peanuts (mani merkén).But also in traditional Chilean dishes such as lomito (a sandwich with marinated pork), chacarero (ditto, but with thinly sliced ​​beef), on pizzas and in pebre, the famous Chilean sauce. 

In the Araucanía region grows the Araucaría, a. tree known for its seeds,  piñónes or pine nuts). A typical Mapuche dish is sautéed piñónes with merkén: the piñónes are boiled and then fried with garlic, oregano and salt. Merkén is used as the finishing touch.

Features

  • mixture of goat's horn pepper (Capsicum annuum), roasted coriander seeds, salt
  • the original brands, from Chile - brand name Etnia (Mapuche)
  • no preservatives

Assortment

  • in original packaging - 100 grams

General advice

  • store the merquén in the original packaging in a cool place, out of direct sunlight;
  • After opening, the grind has a shelf life of at least three months, provided it is kept in a closed container
  • If you want to keep your brands for a longer period of time: store your brands just like allspice d;Espelette in the refrigerator between 3 and 5° C

Best before:

  • November 2026 (11-2026) (in unopened packaging, at room temperature)



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