Food

The strongest there is

Seriously off topic again, but long time readers know that I’m interested in food and wine as well as technology, gadgets and that very interesting thing called the internet. We just installed a new kitchen, so I’ve made some good food lately. The story about the kitchen from HTH is another one. At this point I’ll share something else.

I just made a new batch of one of my favourite ingredients. It keeps in the freezer for years, so I don’t do that too often. And the ingredient is as simple as it is useful. It consists of water and chili.  But, it has to be the right chili.

The strength of a chili is measuded along the scoville scale. A bell pepper (no strength) is zero. A standard Jalapeno clocks in at up to 8000. That’s a chili that many people consider hot. The small “birds eye” thai chilis are stronger. They measures up to 100 000 at the scoville scale.

But the stuff I prepared the other day is special. It’s the Habanero.

At up to 580 000 on the scoville scale it was long regarded as the hottest chili on this planet. But about eight years ago the Naga Jolokia was properly measured and is supposed to close in on 1 000 000 on the scoville scale. That chili could be regarded as something close to a weapon. Standard US grade pepper spray starts at 2 000 000.

But let’s get back to the Habanero. Still the strongest of the widely available chilis. The hot stuff in the chilis is called capsaicin. And one could think that you’d get the same taste in a sauce if you add a small amount of Habanero or a larger amount of the not-as-strong thai chili. As long as you get the same amount of capsaicin. But it doesn’t work like that. The different chilis have characteristical tastes. And the Habanero gives a very pleasant warmth and full bodied heat. But you don’t need much of it, and you probably won’t use it often. So what do you do if you want some Habanero available at all times?

You buy a couple of them, throw them in a blender with some water and freeze the sauce you get. When you need some pleasant heat in a sauce you use a knife to scrape off a bit of the frozen Habanero into the sauce. Yummy.

This is what you put in the freezer. And how much do you need? It depends on your taste and on how strong the Habaneros you got are. But for a faint background of heat you don’t need much. Something like the amount I have in the image below in a sauce for two persons.

And a very important detail: don’t get the raw habanero on your fingers. Unless you like pain. It will stay there for hours and you’ll realize that when you touch your eyes (or other sensitive parts of your body).

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