Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Lush Food #3

Adventures With Chillies - Part 2

For most of my life I've been very keen on spicy food but, as recounted late last year in the first post of its type here at Red Parsley, this interest was accidentally bolstered by my discovery of some rather hot peppers. This incident has since seen a strong resurgence in my love of all things spicy, and it's a resurgence that has already yielded some fine results.

The five peppers of incredible power and mystery...
For a while I merely continued buying the recently-discovered scotch bonnets but, even though they continued to provide the scorching experience I had been unknowingly missing, I was intrigued by the apparent existence of far hotter peppers. As if in answer to my prayers, I recently changed upon an enticingly-named store: Akram's Spice Centre! This would surely be like a treasure trove to me, a Mecca for me all other spice lovers in my area! Venturing inside, I quickly gazed upon the most extensive range of chilli sauces I'd ever seen. Further browsing revealed all manner of unknown products imported from the Middle-East, Subcontinent, and Far-East. I even noticed some unusual fruits and vegetables familiar to me from my time in Brazil, including Jaca - huge spiky things which can kill you if you're unlucky enough to be beneath one falling from a tree!

It was whilst investigating this section that I encountered a selection of peppers and chillies. Most were unlabelled but one type particularly intrigued me so I asked the kind custodian of the store what they were: "Naga Viper, very hot!" he replied, almost with a sneer that suggested he really meant to say "Naga Viper, hotter than you can handle pal!". Regardless of his intent: challenge accepted!

Rubber gloves advisable when handling these!
I eagerly bought five of the awe-inspiring capsicums and rushed home to add them to my favourite meal - a chicken curry! Well, adding 'them' may not have been wise for a first attempt so I chopped one of them (very carefully, with rubber gloves - touching a 'sensitive area' after chopping a scotch bonnet is bad enough!) and added it to a fairly large curry as a test. The result was... about the same as eating a smaller meal including two scotch bonnets - still rather potent but not the sweaty, hyperventilating experience I was expecting. My next meal was smaller and included two Naga Vipers. This was a bit more like it and I struggled to finish the meal (although my proud undefeated record remains intact... just) but the event was... well, less of an event than I was anticipating.

Perhaps it was the come-down commonly felt upon the culmination of a quest. Perhaps it was a case of "it's the journey not the destination". Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations of eating ridiculously spicy food. Perhaps I was simply in a bad mood. Don't get me wrong, it was a great and very hot meal, I was just expecting something a bit more... spectacular. There's little doubt that I'll continue using super-hot peppers like these in the future but I can't help but feel a little sad that I've nothing hotter to look forward to. Then again, who knows what wonders may be encountered one day. So, like a gluttonous version of Ryu, my search for perfection continues...

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