Cooking with chilies and knowing how to use them… make for good Mexican Food. First, there are more than just a couple of types of chiles… in fact there are hundreds of them. But… for some reason, folks get stuck on thinking that Mexican food is made with either Anaheim chiles or Jalapenos. Good Mexican food restaurants use a variety of chiles… that is if they are worth their salt.
It certainly depends what you want the outcome of your dish to be. Hot is great but each chile has a particular flavor to be considered, as well as adding heat to a dish.
While traveling in Mexico looking for the finest recipes for Milagros, I found the markets were full of “Chile and Veggie Stands.” The colors of the peppers and vegetables were astounding. It made me want to buy everything in sight and head for the nearest kitchen.
The women selling their veggies and chiles were gracious and so friendly. Hope you like the photo of the “Market Hotties.” There were the best!
Here are a few chile tips to remember when you are cooking with them.
1. While it is commonly thought that the seeds are the hottest part of the chile and just removing the seeds will eliminate the heat… it is Not so. Of course, the seeds are hot but it’s the vein or white membrane that holds the seeds that has the fire. The membrane is where the “capsaicin” is stored… the “HOT.”
So… when preparing your dish, you will want to eliminate the white vein as well as the seeds if your want to tame your dish down.
2. The old adage that the smaller and greener the chile, the hotter they are is NOT true anymore. With all of the new hybrids and varieties, there are large ones that are hot too.
3. Add chiles sparingly at first. You can always add more.
4. If your dish is a bit too hot and you want to cool down your tongue. “Don’t Drink Watery Fluids”… it will only make the fire worse. Instead, consuming a milky drink, such as our homemade Horchata, which has a soothing effect on the chemical, is just the ticket.
Now you know why sour cream is added to Mexican food…. besides tasting so good!
5. Wear gloves when preparing your chiles. Don’t under estimate how painful the chemical burns can be from washing, cutting and taking out the membrane and seeds. And… keep your hands away from your eyes… gloves or no gloves!
We just added a fresh Chile Relleno to our Milagros menu and it’s been a huge success. (BYU football Legend and coach, Brandon Doman and his brother, recently enjoyed a Milagros Chile Relleno and Baby Back Ribs Hermasillo style at the “Coaches Table.”)
We use a fresh Poblano pepper (no canned) which has a savory flavor and mild heat. (However, they fool us once in awhile and are just a little hotter than we expected… but not too hot to enjoy. Hard to predict… ya know.)
P.S. Cooking with chilies is a lot easier if you let someone else do all the work…. like Milagros in Orem. Come on in and let us show you what “Good Mexican Food” tastes like. For a moment, take a short trip into the small villages of the back country of Mexico…. not the border towns… and see what “real Mexican food” is all about. Fresh ingredients are always used in these small, out of the way settings.