This recipe is from my food blogging friend, Kate from Hong Kong. Her blog has beautifully illustrated photographs not to mention amazing dishes that make you hungry even after you’ve eaten! Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC and were unknown in Africa and Asia until its introduction from the New World by the Europeans. Capsaicin, the ingredient that causes the heat in the pepper, is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation.
10 big red chilies
100g Havarti or any cheese you prefer
polenta to coat the chilies
all purpose flour for dusting
oil for deep frying
salt to taste
Wash and pat dry the chilies. Made a slit alongside the length of it and remove the seeds if you don’t like it too hot. With your fingers rub some salt – not too much and then put in cubes of the cheese and press them back. Do this with all the chilies and then dust them with flour. This will help the egg stick on to the chilies. Break the eggs and season them with salt. In another shallow plate spread out the polenta and season that too with some salt or if you like seasoned salt. The crust tends to get bland if its not well seasoned. Now dip the chili in the egg and roll it in the polenta till well coated. And repeat this step once more. Next deep fry them until you get a beautiful golden brown colour and serve hot.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Make sure you wear rubber gloves otherwise the capsaicin (capsaicin is the primary ingredient in pepper spray) in the membranes and seeds of the chilies will leave you with a burning sensation. These little gems, as much as they caused me some pain in my fingers because I didn’t use gloves, were delicious. Only a bit of heat and quite a taste sensation happening with the crunchy texture of the polenta and a creamy, smooth taste coming from the melted cheese. I wanted to try the jalapeño because they were a bit wider but I think the red chili had less of a bite than the jalapeño. Slice and serve!
By the Glass Wine Tasting Note: I know what I’ll be serving up on Super Bowl Sunday. No glassware required here just some bottles of cold suds. The cheese adds richness and will nicely offset the fire of the chilli. As far as beer, a cold lager, such as the lightly hoppy flavours Singha, will suffice for those looking for just a respite from the heat but for those looking for some flavour synergy could opt for one of the jalapeno beers made many microbreweries. Personally I find the jalapeno can overwhelm the beer, making many of these almost offensive – be careful to find one of the well made versions. Instead; I’ll opt for a West Coast style pale ale with lots of hop intensity to play against the chili pepper and with an enough body to work with the cheese. Halifax micro Garrison Brewery makes an intensely hoppy Imperial Pale Ale that is a sensation with curry and spicy nibbles such as these.