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).

The strongest there is


Oyvind leads me to this: Foodpairing.

The story:

“Food combines with each other when they have major flavour components in common.”

A list was made of 250 food products each with their major flavour components. By comparing the flavour of each food product eg strawberry with the rest of the food and their flavours, new combinations like strawberry with peas can be made. The way to use is, is just to select a food product like strawberries. You will get a plot where you have strawberry in the middle surrounded by other food products. Take one of those other food products and try to make a new recipe by combining those two. The more flavours food products have in common the shorter the distance between the food products.

A food product has a specific flavour because of a combination of different flavours. Like basil taste like basil because of the combination of linalool, estragol, …. So if I want to reconstruct the basil flavour without using any basil, you have to search for a combination of other food products where one contains linalool (like coriander), one contains estragol (like tarragon),… So I can reconstruct basil by combining coriander, tarragon, cloves, laurel. The way to use it is to take from each branch of the plot one product and make a combination of those food products.

Wonderful. I need to leave. For the kitchen. Experiments. Lots of experiments.

More food on eirikso:
The pepper matters
How to roast your own coffee
Good American sparkling wine
Make your own mustard with chili and honey