If you want to use a spice that has as an exciting of a background as it does a flavor, then look no further. We would like to introduce you to Merquén. Deep in the mountainous regions of southern Chile lie the villages of the Mapuche people. This indigenous culture is considered to be the direct descendants of the pre-hispanic culture in South America. This strong culture of war-minded people avoided being overthrown by the Spanish explorers for decades. In modern day, the Mapuche people live in urban areas of Chile and have attributed to an increasing popularity of Mapuche cultural dishes and the traditional Mapuche signature spice, Merquén.
What does Merquén taste like?
The first thing that you need to know about Merquén is it is delicious. As far as the flavor palate, it is rich, smoky, and carries a kick. Merquén is made from ground, smoked chiles combined with sea salt and other spices such as oregano, cumin, and coriander. You can probably imagine the warmth and comfort of this Chilean spice by just reading about it. It's the perfect blend of spicy and flavorful, making it a wonderful addition to many dishes.
What kind of dishes can Merquén be used in?
The Mapuche people traditionally used Merquén as a rub for things such as cheeses and meaty nuts like almonds and walnuts. However, the modern-day Mapuche people and the U.S. food industry have expanded the possibilities for this delicious spice. To really live up to its full potential, Merquén can be used as a rub on different meats as well as the main spice in meat-based soups and stews. If you aren't into meats, no sweat you can still experience the deliciousness that is Merquén. Try it out in your next lentil dish, sauce, or in a rich, smoky vegetable side dish of onions, potatoes, or squash.
So, the next time you want to spice up your life, be sure to add Merquén to your menu. If you want to try a blend at home, the Merquén blend by Asabasa Spice Co. is a blend of spicy and sweet chiles with sea salt and a mix of spices, perfect for your first try at a Mapuche dish.