Contributed by: Jennifer A. Wickes
Chiles are also known as chile peppers, hot peppers and chillis.
History and Geography
Christopher Columbus discovered chiles on his arrival to the New
World. Now these peppers from the Capsicum family play an intrical
part in the following cuisines: Africa, China, India, Mexico, South
America, Spain and Thailand.
There are more than 200 varieties of peppers, each with its own
season and degree of heatness. They also vary in size and color. The
largest can be as large ar 12 inches, and the smallest as small as ¼
inch! Dried chiles and chile powders are available year round,
usually in Latin American and Asian markets. Examples of some chiles:
Anaheim, Ancho, Bird, Caribe, Cascabel, Cayenne, Charleston Hot,
Cherry Peppers, Chilaca, Chile Colorado, Chipotle, Fresno, Guajillo,
Guero, Habanero, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeño, Jamaican Hot, Mulato,
Pasilla, Pepperoncini, Pequín, Pimiento, Poblano, Red Pepper, Ristra,
Santa Fe Grande, Scotch Bonnet, Serrano, Sweet Peppers, Thai Chile,
How To Select Your Chiles
Choose your chile with deep vivid colors. Avoid any chile that is
shriveled or has any soft spots. Usually, a larger chile is milder.
Most of the heat of a chile is contained in the veins and the seeds.
Cooking and freezing does not diminish the heat intensity of a chile,
so removing the veins and seeds will greatly help.
A Word of Caution
It is very important to wash your hands after handling these peppers.
Your skin and eyes can burn from the juices contained within the
peppers. Some people are really sensitive and require gloves while
handling chiles. If you burn your mouth from a chile, try eating a
piece of bread to reduce the sting. If you do burn your fingers, try
soaking your hands in milk or yogurt.
Food and Spices
Chocolate, cilantro, coffee, cumin, paprika
If you are cooking something and it has become too spicy, make it
milder by adding noodles or a potato. These will help absorb some of
Chiles are cholesterol free, low in sodium and calories. They are
high in Vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid, potassium
and Vitamin E.
Chiles are mostly grown in hot countries, as eating them will help
cool your body temperature down by sweating a lot quicker than
drinking a cold beverage. This theory has been utilized by native
cultures to help bring down a fever. Also, hot chiles can help ease
congestion by making your sinuses run, and they help kill bacteria in
your body! You can make a paste of 9 parts flour, 1 part olive oil
and 1 part cayenne pepper. Add enough water to make a paste. Sandwich
this mixture between two cloths and use on arthritic joints.
This is a method to determine the heat of a pepper.
Mild: 0 to 2,500 Scoville Units
Anaheims, Anchos, Mulato, Pimiento, Poblanos, Pasillas, Sweet Peppers
Medium: 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Units
Cascabel, Cherries, Chilaca, Chipotles, Fresno, Guero, Hungarian Wax,
Jalapeños, New Mexico, Pepperoncini, Red Pepper
Hot: 10,000 to 100,000 Scoville Units
Bird, Caribe, Cayenne, Charleston Hot, De Arbol, Guajillo, Jamaican
Hot, Pequín, Santa Fe Grande, Serrano, Thai Chile, Togarashi
VERY Hot: 100,000 to 300,000 Scoville Units
Habanero, Scotch Bonnet
- 4 cups milk
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 pieces of Mexican sweet chocolate (or your favorite cocoa)
- Cayenne pepper
Combine the milk and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and heat over
medium heat. When the milk begins to simmer, add the chocolate. Stir
until the chocolate has completely dissolved. Remove the cinnamon
sticks, and pour into mugs. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper!
Yields: 4 servings
Basic Chiles Rellenos
- Peanut oil, for deep-frying
- 4 ounces diced green chiles
- 2 cups grated jack cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 egg whites
- 1-tablespoon flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup flour
Pour oil in electric deep fryer. Preheat at 425F for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain green chiles and remove seeds. Cut cheese into
strips. Insert a strip into each chile. Dredge each in flour and set
aside. Beat egg whites to a soft peak. Beat together egg yolks, flour
and salt until mixture is smooth; fold in beaten whites. Coat each
cube with egg mixture, drop in hot oil. Fry till golden brown. Spoon
hot oil over chilies while frying to brown tops. Remove and drain.
Serve on warm platter topped with prepared enchilada sauce.
Source: TJ Hill - Appetites Catered
This article was originally published at Suite 101.
Jennifer Wickes is the editor at "Cookbook Reviews" and "Cooking With The Seasons", which has been voted to be one of the Top 100 Culinary Sites on the Internet! For more information about Jennifer Wickes
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