We’ve all heard of the ingredient Habanero peppers. But what are they really? Habanero is a type of chilli pepper. Unripe habanero pepper is green in colour, and the peppers change colour as they mature. Some of the common colour variants are red and orange. You can also find peppers in brown, white, green, yellow or even purple colour. Why are these peppers talked about so much? – well, typically, a ripe habanero chilli is about 0.8–2.4 inches long. These chilli peppers are extremely pungent- the score is 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale which is a measurement of pungency/spiciness of chilli peppers or other spicy food. So we can say that the speciality of these habanero peppers is the heat, flavour and aroma. No wonder, these peppers have found their way into many a cuisine especially into sauces and other spicy foods.
Habanero peppers trace their origins to the Amazon from where it spread to Mexico. When Spanish people colonized Mexico, they took it to different parts of the world.
The habanero and the Scotch Bonnet pepper (often used in West-African cuisine) are often compared since they are two different varieties of the same species. They have a similar pungency level on the Scoville scale. Let’s compare and contrast a few peppers for their Scoville rating. The regular bell peppers and Pimento score from 0 to 100 on this scale. Banana peppers rank 2nd from the bottom with a score from 100 to 1000. We all have heard of Jalapeno peppers, they rank 3rd from bottom on this scale with a score of 1000 to 10,000! Now our habanero and Scotch Bonnet peppers rank 5th from the bottom or 3rd from the top (3rd spiciest) at 100,000 to 350,000!! No wonder the heat is so high!. The most pungent peppers are the Pepper X, Carolina Reaper and Dragon’s Breath with a score of 800,000 to 3,200,000! Whoosh! That would surely set our tongues on fire (No wonder they call it Dragon’s Breath!)
So are these chilli peppers actually edible? Hell, yes! They just play with our tastebuds and take the food experience to an all-new level. But how can you include this tantalizing ingredient in your food/cuisine?
Well, many a time, the habanero pepper is used to make the pepper sauces. You can use this sauce with chicken that has been grilled.
You can also use the habanero in place of regular chillies to increase the heat/spice level. Like for example, you can try making spicy chicken wings. So when making the sauce to go along with these chicken wings, you can add in the habanero peppers and create a whacky new recipe!
If you want to make something super spicy for a party, you could try making Habanero fritters and see if your friends can stand the heat! Are they made of steel to stomach these spicy fritters?
One interesting way to make use of the habanero pepper is to make a hot pepper relish for a mildly flavoured snack. You can make it a hot and sweet relish by adding in some sweetening agent such as brown sugar or palm jaggery.
There is surely no way you can stop your imagination when it comes to incorporating these amazingly pungent chilli peppers in your daily cuisine. Just a word of caution, these are really super spicy, not for the weak-hearted!
Did you know these habanero peppers have health benefits? They help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol level. Capsaicin present in these peppers helps to fight weight gain by affecting thermogenesis – increases and decreases body temperature. Being rich in anti-oxidants, these peppers also help in cancer prevention apart from being a good source of Vitamins A and C.
Have you tasted the habanero pepper before? Are you strong enough to taste it, let alone eat it as a whole? What was your experience like? Let me know!
ATA RODO HOT SAUCE
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 5 Servings
- 2 red onions, finely chopped 10 Habanero peppers, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped(optional)
- 1 paprika, deseeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon Ataro all-West African seasoning mix
- 1 stock cube
- Salt and freshly ground chilli
- pepper, to taste
- Dice the habanero peppers, red onion, tatashe, and garlic. Combine them with half of the water in the jug of a blender and pulse until the mixture is coarsely blended and well combined.
- In a medium pot over medium heat, warm the oil for 2 minutes. Add the coarsely blended pepper mixture and fry for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly browned.
- Add the remaining water, stock cube and ground crayfish and salt.
- The ground crayfish is optional but enhances the taste of the Nigerian Hot sauce
- Tatashe is paprika.