India has had a strong relationship with hot, spicy seasonings for a long time. Even the common black pepper used to be highly esteemed by the Indian people.
The familiar peppercorn, native to the country, is known to have been used in Indian culinary traditions for at least as far back as 2000 BC. It was also a significant export; pretty much all pepper consumed in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa was grown in India until after the Middle Ages.
People prized the taste of the pepper so much that it was used as a form of currency, and was often referred to as “black gold”. It was so expensive to the Ancient Greeks that only the very rich could afford it; by the time of the Roman Empire, it was said that both Alaric the Visigoth and Attila the Hun demanded a ransom of over a ton of pepper after they besieged Rome in the fifth century.
The value of black pepper declined when the spicier long pepper proved to be more accessible as a trade good. Later on, after explorers from Europe brought the chili pepper back from South America, both the long pepper and black pepper declined even further. This is a big part of why this luxurious spice can now be found in complementary packets on the tables of many restaurants.
To this day, pepper is used to help season many Indian curries and other dishes. Come and experience thousands of years of seasoning innovations at our Bellevue Indian restaurant today!