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Old 08-06-2009, 11:07 PM   #1
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Fun with chiles (6 course meal w/ pictures)

Alright, so as some of you may or may not know (I haven't been around in a while) every now and again I put together a theme meal based on one type of "thing"...sorta like Iron Chef, only with less annoying announcers. Tonight I bring unto you: Chiles and around the world.

The menu:

Chiles Rellenos con Camarones, with Salsa Infernal
Calamari stir-fried Thai noodles
Doro Wat
Sichuan Lobster
Lamb Phaal
Insane Hot Sauce

WARNING: These dishes are very, very spicy. You've been warned.

Chiles Rellenos con Camarones, with Infernal Salsa (Mexico)


Ingredients (para dos)

4-5 Poblanos
½ cup of Manchego cheese, grated
½ cup of salad shrimp, peeled and briefly poached
1 can pickled Jalapenos
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Chipotle powder
1 tsp garlic powder
A dozen Pequin peppers
4 eggs, separated
flour for dredging
oil for frying
salt to taste




Start by charring the skin of the Poblanos on an open flame. You can use an outdoor grill or the burner of your stove. Alternatively you could broil them in the oven, turning frequently. Once the skins are all blackened, place the peppers in a sealed container and wait for them to be cool enough to handle (the steaming process helps loosening the skins for peeling) (1) While the peppers cool get the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan. Mix the diced jalapenos, tomato paste, pequin peppers (lightly crushed) and spices with a cup of water. Simmer on low heat. (2) Run your knife through the Manchego cheese or shred it. Combine the shrimp and cheese and adjust for salt. You may want to add just a pinch of Chipotle and cumin just to serve as continuity with the sauce. (3) After about 20 minutes the sauce should be nicely reduced and thickened. Pulse briefly in a food processor and keep warm. (4) Peel the charred skin off the Poblanos, being careful not to puncture them. Slice the top and stem off the peppers (I find them easier to handle this way) and stuff 2-3 Tbsp of the filling in each, making sure you leave about ½ inch of pepper from the top empty to serve as a “lip”. (5) Beat four egg white to soft peaks, then gently fold in the yolks. Dredge the peppers in flour, then egg mix and fry in a few inches of hot olive oil. (6)



Serve the Chiles Rellenos with Sour cream, frijoles negros, bell pepper Spanish rice and Sauce. Ole’!



Obligatory cross-sectional view. Manchego isn’t a gooey melting cheese, but it matches deliciously with shrimp and the smokiness of the Poblanos.

Dish 2 to follow....

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Old 08-06-2009, 11:11 PM   #2
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Chili stir-fried Thai Noodles with Squid and Vegetables

This Thai-inspired dish is an awesome showcase for fresh chili peppers, with their tanginess and bite. As you can see below my Thai pepper plant has just started producing fruit, so I’m going to need to improvise a little here.






Ingredients (2-3 servings)

7-8 calamari tubes
5-6 fresh Thai peppers (or an assortment of other spicy chilies, like Serrano and red Jalapeno)
5 Thai Dragon peppers dried and crushed
2 Asian eggplants
½ cup sliced Shitake mushrooms
½ cup Thai basil leaves
Juice from a lime
2 inch piece of Galangal, julienned
½ cup, scant of Cilantro
2 Stalks of lemongrass
3 Garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fish sauce
A handful of green beans, topped and tailed
½ Lb thin rice noodles soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
2 Tbsp oil



Begin by dicing the vegetables into bite size pieces. Cut the calamari tubes into rings and run your knife through the fresh herbs. Lightly crush and bruise the lemon grass stalks and cut in half, discarding any fibrous outer leaves. (1) Stir fry the crushed Thai peppers, garlic, galangal and lemongrass, until garlic is golden. (2) Add the eggplant and green beans and stir fry for four minutes. (3) Next put in the sliced fresh chilies, squid, mushrooms and fry for 30 seconds. Discard the lemongrass. (4) Drain the rice noodles after soaking for 15 minutes in hot water. (5) Add the noodles to the stir fry along with the fresh herbs, fish sauce and lime juice. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer. (6) Do not overcook the calamari!




Serve the noodles “as is” or top with additional sliced chilies. I was pretty happy with the results, even though it might look like a “Pad Guadalajara” the flavors are very authentic IMAO.

Next: Dish 3....
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:15 PM   #3
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Doro Wat

Now we are getting into big boy territory, spice wise. I had my first “wat” as a child in Italy courtesy of some former expats that brought back from Ethiopia (along with the kitschiest assortment of zebra pelts and monkey paw ashtrays) a curious powder they called Berbere. We were formally invited, one night, to sample an authentic Ethiopian wat. Sadly, it didn’t amount to much more than the spiciest Bolognese I’d ever tried, and it would be a while before I tasted an authentic wat. But the memory lingers still. That’s the power of trauma.



Ingredients (serves 2-3)

1 ½ Lb bone in chicken, skin removed
3 boiled eggs, peeled
2 onions, diced
2 lemons
1 stick of butter
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp fenugreek
½ tsp garlic powder
2 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 cup red wine
¼ cup Berbere powder

Berbere (makes about ¾ cups)
3 Tbsp Cayenne
2 Tbsp smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Paprika
½ tsp cardamom seeds
8-10 cloves
20 Birdseye chilies (like piri piri or Pequin)
1 tsp Peppercorns
2 tsp Ajwain seeds
2 tsp Fenugreek
1 ½ tsp Allspice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Coriander seed
2 tsp Cumin
½ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt



Toast the whole spices in a dry pan and crush finely in a mortar, discarding the cardamom pod outer shells. (1) Mix all the spices together and transfer to a sealed jar, now you’ve got Berbere, go hog wild! (2) Score the chicken flesh, salt and marinate for 30 minutes in the juice of two lemons. (3) Simmer the butter and spices (niter kibbeh) for five minutes while you dry sauté the onions. This is a critical step since it defines the flavor of the doro wat. (4) Once the onions are translucent but not browned, add the niter kibbeh and ¼ cup of Berbere spice and gently fry for a few minutes longer. (5) Remove the chicken from the marinade and place into the pot, covering with spice paste. Add a cup of red wine and a cup of water and simmer for 40 minutes stirring occasionally and adjusting for spice. Toss a few boiled eggs in towards the halfway mark. (6)




Doro Wat, served in typical Ethiopian style with injera and collard greens, sprinkled with additional Berbere. Alternatively you can just eat it like a man, out of a bowl with a spoon, as it was served to me oh so long ago.


Dish 4, coming up....
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:18 PM   #4
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Sichuan style Lobster





Ingredients (for 2)

Two 1 ½ Lb Lobsters
20 Tien Tsin peppers, about half of them crushed
2 Garlic cloves
A 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 Tbsp Hot Fermented Bean sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
1 tsp corn starch and extra for dredging
1 Tbsp oil and extra for deep frying
2 scallions, sliced on the bias




First thing is to humanely kill the lobsters. Do this by placing the point of your knife in the spot where the carapace and tail meet. In one motion split through the head, then sever the tail with a perpendicular cut. Dice the lobster (shell on) into manageable pieces, making some cracks in the claws with the back of your knife. Discard the tomalley, stomach and gills and quickly rinse the fish in water. (1) Dredge the lobster in cornstarch until well coated. (2,3) Deep fry the lobster in batches, 1-2 minutes for the tail and leg pieces, 3-4 minutes for the claws. (4, 5) Stir fry the garlic, ginger, chilies and peppercorns until fragrant. Add the soy and bean sauces, the broth and the teaspoon of cornstarch in a slurry. Allow to thicken briefly. (6) Now add the fried lobster and scallions, toss to coat and cook for a minute more to allow the flavors to blend. Serve immediately.



There is no practical way of enjoying this without getting your hands covered in chilies, so each morsel gets hotter and hotter. Also the numbing effect of the peppercorns contributes to the fantastic “push-pull” element of Sichuan cuisine. The crushed peppers prevent any smartass from taming the spice by not eating the peppers.

Dish 5, on its way...
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:23 PM   #5
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Lamb Phaal

Apparently some unwritten law of Indian cuisine states that a phaal is the hottest dish allowable in an Indian restaurant. I just think it’s an attempt to cash in on the Vindaloo craze of a few years ago. Probably for this reason there is little consensus as to what goes into a phaal and more opinions of what ingredients of a traditional curry should be omitted (onions, potatoes, etc.) in its preparation. From my research the general public seems to lean towards two schools of thought: either using the hottest peppers available, or mixing a variety of peppers to achieve the same result. I walked the middle ground in this recipe.



Ingredients (serves 4)
2-3 Lbs bone-in Lamb shanks
6-7 Scotch Bonnet peppers, fresh
5-10 Dundicut peppers, dried
2 inch piece of ginger grated
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp Fenugreek
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 ½ Tbsp Cayenne
2 Tbsp Hot Curry powder
Salt to taste
1 large can Tomato purée
1 cup of chicken stock
2-3 Tbsp Sambal Oelek



Sear all sides of the lamb shanks in very little oil and transfer to a large pot. (1) Grind the peppers and garlic in a food processor, add the dry spices and fry the spice paste in the lamb fat for a minute (my daughter was napping two rooms away and woke up with a coughing fit due to the amount of capsicum being volatized, so caution if you are cooking this in your dorm room.) (2) Mix the tomato purée, spices, stock and lamb in a pot. (3) Gently simmer for 2 hours, until lamb is tender and pulling slightly off the bone. (4) Remove the Lamb from the sauce and dice the meat. (5) Return the lamb to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes more. Right before serving add a few Tbsp of Sambal Oelek. (6)



Serve the phaal with naan and a cucumber raita. And beer. Lots of beer.

Last dish incoming...
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:26 PM   #6
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Roasted Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce



No thing about peppers and chiles would be complete without a hot sauce. And no face is a better fit for an insano sauce than the Busey.

Ingredients

15-20 Scotch Bonnet peppers
2 cloves of garlic, cut in halves
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Cayenne (for color)
Juice from a lime
¼ cup of white vinegar (or more, depending on final consistency)

Broil the peppers and garlic until well colored and spotted with char marks. Pulse the lot in a food processor. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Bottle and store in the fridge. Now you can add more heat if you thought the dishes were too tame!

There ya go folks....International Chile Fest. Make it. Today.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:32 PM   #7
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it all looks very good, but after just watching man vs. food and doing some research on the "ghost chilie" my mouth is already burning.
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:09 PM   #8
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What beautiful colour! The pictures look so good but unfortunately I cannot get a hold of some of those peppers but I will try to substitute. I have grown a few of them.
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Old 11-13-2009, 03:33 PM   #9
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Awesome pictures! Looks very good!!

Will have to try a couple of those when the wife is gone (she hates peppers).
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