Merken Mapuche Spice from Chile by La Tienda

Add a full spicy flavor to your next barbecue by sprinkling Merken spice powder on any meat. The Mapuche Indians in Chile bring us this spicy powder, made from native “Cacho de Cabra” (goat’s horn) chili pepper, toasted coriander and salt. This combination of flavors and techniques create a smoky and rich flavor that you can use on meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. Mix it with olive oil and dip it with toasted French bread or sprinkle it on warm nuts for an exotic hours d’ oeuvres on your next gathering.

Quick facts

  • Hot, spicy and flavorful powder
  • Ancient method of production
  • Use it on any meat, or mix it with olive oil for bread

Top reviews

One of my favorite seasonings

Smoked chilean pepper. Tastes great in many applications. I add it to pastas, potatoes, salads, sprinkle on sandwiches. It also makes a wicked dip mixed with cream cheese. For reasons beyond my understanding, it is impossible to find in stores, even in Latin specialty markets. Thank god for Amazon!
JacintaHarrison, SD

Delicious Robust Flavor

This spice is really delicious. It is not terrifically hot, but it ads a little heat and a lot of flavor. I added it to a mushroom alfredo dish and it gave it a beautiful color and flavor. Its a little pricey so using it as an on the plate addition makes it go farther.
ArnettaDel Mar, CA

Good merken, but tame

This spice has the smoky pungency of merken, but it is tame. The “real stuff”, purchased at open-air markets in southern Chile, is far stronger. Perhaps the spice fades quickly. For whatever reason, it is not as strong as can be bought in the land of the Mapuche, but it will give some of the distinctive flavor of merken to a variety of dishes.
AdolfoSan Andreas, CA


I have seen this product at gourmet stores but their prices are too high so I checked with Amazon and sure enough, their prices are more affordable. I tried it with my baked chicken and it was delicious. The aroma is wonderful but it doesn’t have a lot of salt so I sprinkled a little on the chicken. Merken is certified organic. No more sauces for me, this is more than enough. Enjoy!
KermitEndeavor, PA

A superb taste that builds on into your recipes!!

Merkén is a prepared spice with ethnic roots that brings to your recipes the unique complexity of their individual flavors and aromas of earth and smoke. Meats such as tuna, lamb, pork or duck (to name a few), will be enhanced with this delicate spice with sweet nuances of jam or fruit, that will be, without doubt, a joy to your senses.

Capsaicin is the molecule that causes the hot sensation of red peppers and has become today an indispensable tool in pharmacological pain research, painful as it is, its effect remains an analgesic response. In addition to reducing the transmission of pain, capsaicin also increases the production of the enzyme collagenase and prostaglandins, reducing both pain and inflammation. This pepper also produces discharge of endorphins as a defense against painful episodes. These various analgesic effects and perceived effect of tolerance to pain, will also provide an excellent flavor to your meals.

Creole sauce and other healthy condiments made with merkén add flavor, not only taste. In this case, it is merkén that provides flavor to foods and also provides the opportunity to improve your health. The Merkaba is the result of adding salt to smoked hot peppers, roasted and ground, with its seeds provided. This product is known as “natural merkén”. Also produced is a special type that incorporates roasted coriander seeds and ground red pepper or other spices to the ground. The usual ingredients in merkén are: Ground pepper and pepper seeds, toasted coriander, salt and oregano.

Traditionally, the Merkaba (or medkén merquén) is prepared by each family for the personal use of it. The process is slow, green peppers are harvested and then allowed to ripen to take a strong reddish later naturally sun dried and then smoked for a period of about half an hour on native wood fire. Then they are placed in waiting hang grinding. Before they were ground in stone mortars, now it is done with special electric hammer mills. Once reduced to powder or flakes, it is mixed with coriander seeds and salt.

Salt must never exceed 20% of the total content of the preparation, the chili should represent a maximum of 70% and the rest, smoked and roasted seeds of cilantro, oregano, etc. Its aroma and flavor makes it the ideal condiment for meats, stews, poultry, fish, vegetables. Even a simple puree, which you want to add some Mapuche mischief.

Pepper Properties, the main character

When Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, he found that one of the qualities of the new continent was the richness in spices that it offered. The pepper (Capsicum Annuum L.) is a vegetable that has its origin in tropical and subtropical regions of America, mainly in Bolivia-Peru area, where seeds have been found in ancestral forms for more than 7,000 years and spread to the Americas and then the rest of the world. Chili stands out for its high content of ascorbic acid value, which is even higher than that of citrus. Chili peppers have a value almost 10 times higher vitamin A than regular peppers. In the placenta and septa of chili peppers are glands or receptacles rich in alkaloids (capsacinoides), among which prevails capsaicin, which determine the degree of pungency of the fruit.

A remarkable property is that it works against pain. Capsaicin is the molecule that red pepper hot and today it is an indispensable tool in pharmacological research of pain, painful as it is, its effect remains an analgesic response. From this discovery the pharmaceutical industry continues trying and trying to modify the molecule so that not only produces irritation but analgesia. The intention is to produce a similar molecule, more useful and less irritating than the original product from chili. In addition to reducing the transmission of pain, capsaicin also increases the production of the enzyme collagenase and prostaglandins, reducing both pain and inflammation in men.

The pepper also produces discharge of endorphins, as a defense against painful episodes. These substances as well as various effects of analgesics and pain tolerance, cause euphoric effects. Hence, the hypothesis is that endorphins are the ones that carry the pleasure of eating chili and are the starting point of research seeking ways to prevent pain.

The Merkaba is therefore used as a welcome ingredient in a wide range of menus, enhancing the flavor of food.

AnnelleChartley, MA