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Merken: Cook with the Flavor of Chile

Updated on March 12, 2011

Do you enjoy the unique flavor of South American cuisine? If you have the correct spices, it's not difficult to duplicate the exotic flavor of South American foods in your own kitchen. Consider adding a bottle of Merken to your spice rack if you'd like to bring the flavor of Chile into your home.

Merken has a unique coppery hue, and adds a wonderful smoky flavor to foods. Merken has long been the most popular spice in Chile. This unique flavoring agent consists of a combination of red chili peppers, cumin, toasted coriander seed, and salt. Thanks to Chileangourmet, this delicious spice is now available in the United States at Whole Foods Markets and Williams Sonoma stores.

Cooking with Merken

“Merken has played a central role in the ancient traditions and cuisine of the native Mapuche people, indigenous inhabitants of Central and Southern Chile, in the Araucanía region of Chile for centuries,” according to Paulina Peñaloza, co-founder of Chileangourmet. She continues, “It is an extremely versatile spice, enhancing everything from beef, fish and poultry to vegetables, dips and sauces - even desserts!”

You can provide a variety of recipes that use Merken on the recipes page of the Chileangourmet website. You can also easily add it to many of your own savory dishes with terrific results. This tasty spice is a wonderful addition to all kinds of recipes. It lends a smoky, somewhat spicy taste to all kinds of entrees, including beef, chicken, fish, turkey and turkey.

Additionally, Merken can also be sprinkled on all types of potato, pasta, and cheese dishes. It also adds a great flavor to soups and sauces, and is a tasty addition to tuna, chicken or egg salad. When you have a bottle of this delicious spice in your pantry, the delicious flavors you can create will be limited only by your imagination.

About Chileangourmet

Chileangourmet produces a wide variety of pure Chilean spices and other gourmet food items, including oils, honey, nuts, and more. The company is headquartered in Santiago, Chile and is a Fair Trade producer. The company is committed to sustainability and to observing socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

A number of native Mapuche families grow and prepare the chilis used to make the Merken spice, and they are paid Fair Trade prices for their efforts. Chileangourmet is represented in the United States by Culinary Collective, a recognized importer and distributor of the finest international foods.


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    pedro mondaca 7 years ago

    I am Perdro Mondaca , Merken Producer in Algarrobo,5TH Region Chile...I am offering my product for distribution in the United States.It's a traditional Chilean spice blend made of dried and smoked aji cacho de cabra chiles,toasted coriander seeds, and salt.A unique jolt of smoky heat. Contact; e-mail:

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    Bullradish 7 years ago

    I think that shipping bottles of spices cannot be environmentally responsible; there are a lot of toxics dumped into the ocean in the process.

    "The company is committed to sustainability" it's just crappy marketing.

    The spice is good though, you can combine it with ketchup and you get a great and spicy BBQ sauce. Don't lie to people

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    Alex 8 years ago

    A great spice to use especially with meat like chicken or pork

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    newsworthy 8 years ago

    Ive never tried merken but with the wooden smoky flavor you mentioned, I am imagining it on all sorts of foods. Down south where we usually spice things up, merken would be a great match.

    mmm mmm good