Capsicum annuum species
Country of Origin: India
Paprika was first brought to Spain in the 16th century by Columbus after his grand voyage to America. Paprika was cultivated in North America and Central Mexico for centuries but the Spanish were the first who dried and ground the red fruits to make the spice we know today. Hot paprika comes from pungent varieties of capsicums like chili and cayenne peppers.
Hot paprika flakes are produced by crushing and chopping the whole dried fruits of the capsicums, including the seeds. In Greece, it is called ''boukovo'' and it is used to season soups, sauces, and marinades, especially in northern Greece where food is preferred spicy and pungent.
Hot paprika flakes is an excellent spice to be added raw on top of the dishes, at the end of the recipe, as overheating makes it a bit bitter. It can be used to season soups, such as lentil soup and bean soup. It can be added in dishes with chicken, pork and beef as well as dishes with grilled and oven-baked vegetables and potatoes. Hot paprika flakes can be added on top of white cheese, like feta cheese. They also add heat in tomato sauce and pickled cabbage. They can also be added in sausages, kebabs and meatballs prior to cooking to make them spicy.