14 Apr2012

Some stunning fresh jalapeño peppers sent over by Gejo with one of my produce baskets… I get at least 3-4 inquiries about fresh jalapeño peppers a year, usually from crazed purchasing staff working for local Mexican restaurants, and while I often answer that they are sometimes available from specialty farmers, I haven’t seen them consistently available in local stores. I have featured them on the blog once or twice before, but here they are again, for those of you who seem to think they are a figment of my imagination, and that I make up some posts with the sole intent of irritating purchasing agents who themselves claim the produce just simply doesn’t exist in Manila, only to have their bosses probably say, “eh bakit mayroon sa marketmanila?” hahahaha. Gejo, you could probably sell your entire crop to one or two Mexican restaurant chains…

I don’t cook Mexican that often, but the best use I can think for these is with a large platter of nachos with hot melted cheese and freshly chopped jalapeños (rather than the bottled vinegared pickles). Or maybe chopped up and added to cornbread for some zing… We were having some grilled bone-in pork belly (liempo) for lunch the other day so I decided to experiment by chopping up a couple of jalapeño peppers and throwing them into the marinade…

I included all of the pith and seeds, hoping to get a noticeable spiciness, and the meat marinated for at least 30 minutes with the peppers.

Onto a hot grill and while most of the pepper bits fell off as the meat cooked, the pork belly looked and smelled terrific.

Here they are on the lower heat section of the grill, just about ready to be served. They were delicious. But surprisingly, possessed just a little hint of heat. The peppers weren’t as spicy as some jalapeños can be… not sure if it is the soil, the weather or the amount of sun, but the heat levels for some peppers (even siling labuyo or bird’s eye chilies) can vary greatly. This was good, but not something so different that it would warrant a real recipe title. :) You could do something similar by adding chopped chilies of almost any sort… But nothing ventured, nothing gained. And in this case, nothing lost. Thanks for the peppers Gejo!



  1. PITS, MANILA says:

    Oh! Best part to grill for us is the liempo … have tried a marinade using labuyo, but found out that labuyo is more potent if chopped and included in the dipping sauce. Once I get my hands on jalapenos like these, I will try again.

    Apr 14, 2012 | 9:50 am


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  3. Milan says:

    There is a korean dish that adds jalapeños or the longer green sili labuyo to roast pork, lettuce wraps, and some kimchi. Wrap it all up, eat like a fresh spring roll/burrito.

    Apr 14, 2012 | 11:22 am

  4. bluegirl says:

    A friend was just telling me that the heat of peppers depends on whether the plant came from a seed that a bird pooped or if the seed came directly from the fruit. Supposed to be, the fruits of the plant that came from the seed that a bird pooped has more heat. Don’t know if this is true. Perhaps one of your readers with horticultural background could comment…

    Apr 14, 2012 | 11:35 am

  5. betty q. says:

    Milan…I think you are talking about Samgyeopsal Giu…I cook thinly sliced pork belly on this dome shaped cast iron Korean grill plate over a butane burner. But then again, I much prefer it barbecued on a propane grill…eaten with either Kimchi or green onion slivers coated with a sweet and spicy red pepper condiment and roasted garlic…

    Apr 14, 2012 | 11:45 am

  6. connie says:

    I can never get hold of siling mahaba where I live, so jalapeno is my pepper of choice to add in my sinigang. Which is actually rather good, since I like my sinigang really spicy. MM, how about we trade? I send you jalapeno peppers, send me some siling mahaba. LOL!

    Apr 14, 2012 | 12:02 pm

  7. Lyn says:

    Another bbq post… yay! love your pics… mouthwatering talaga! Even the raw pork in marinade, parang pwede nang kainin… =)

    Apr 14, 2012 | 12:21 pm

  8. ssa-ssa says:

    hmmm….perhaps, aside from “Like” button being suggested to be put on the site on previous posts, “drooling” button should be add as well. :) once, we got hold of this jalepeno and we did preseve it by pickling it. It retained its crispiness and a perfect match for inihaw. :)

    Apr 14, 2012 | 12:30 pm

  9. betty q. says:

    Bluegirl: In studies conducted by a UF post doctoral researcher, Mr. Tewksbury and Mr. Nabhan, ethobotanist at NAU (Science Daily, July 2001) concluded that birds are not affected by the chemical capsi. that makes the peppers hot. They can munch on the hottest peppers and then pass the seeds in their poop. As such, it is one way of dispersing the seeds in the wild. Please read on the link for it is quite enlightening and entertaining.

    Apr 14, 2012 | 12:44 pm

  10. cora says:

    I like whole jalapenos in my sinigang but some of these peppers are not spicy at all. They are fantastic with grilled pork belly! MM, you should try sausage ( Italian sausage) stuffed jalapenos or just put cheese inside and grill them for few minutes. It is good and a crowd pleaser. How about sisig stuffed jalapenos :)

    Apr 14, 2012 | 12:52 pm

  11. Betchay says:

    Your photos are getting better…..I can see the smoke wafting in the last photo!

    Apr 14, 2012 | 2:28 pm

  12. Gej says:

    bluegirl: An oblique comment. I find many of the hot peppers in the farm bitten into by birds. I suspect these birds flew all the way from Bicol. Not many bit into the jalapeno though – Bicolano birds are quite discriminating it seems.

    MM, I wanted to wait and see if the jalapenos would become red (I’m not sure if they indeed become red!) . But some started to rot inside when the unexpected rains came, so I harvested them right away. Maybe the rains lessened the heat.

    Apr 14, 2012 | 4:15 pm

  13. Kron says:

    Birds are known to be able to see in the UV spectrum, so maybe ripe chillies/peppers (being slightly hotter than unripe ones) “stand out” so to speak (as ripe fruits apparently reflect the UV wavelengths more) and birds know exactly which to pick.

    I like Jalapeños a lot, though sadly I haven’t tried them fresh. Sir Gej, were the jalapeño plants themselves tricky to rear, establish and get to fruit (at least, more than the pepper varieties available locally)?

    Apr 14, 2012 | 5:52 pm

  14. Connie C says:

    You like it hot, spicy, or on fire?
    Here is a scale of chili peppers for you:

    Apr 14, 2012 | 6:35 pm

  15. Footloose says:

    For ConnieC, BettyQ, Millet and Natie with the rest of Marketman fans who rarely get aroused about hot peppers, this link might just change the game for you:


    Apr 14, 2012 | 10:25 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    Footloose, HAHAHA…

    Apr 14, 2012 | 11:27 pm

  17. betty q. says:

    Footloose…major MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! As Will Smith would say…..I GOT TO GET ME ONE OF THOSE !!!!!!!! You are soooooo tight, Footloose! I very rarely get excited over a plant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, I am referring to the seeds that I could plant for next year. Even if I get hold of the seeds in the next few months, it is too late to start them!…Gejo, I will share my loot of seeds with you if I get hold of them! And yes, jalapenos turn red given enough sunshine. heat! My Italian gardener friends start their seeds indoors in February and they go by the full moon! Do you do the same, Gejo, wait for the full moon to start your seeds? I do! My garlic are soooooo healthy since I planted them when it was a full moon! My tomato and Tuscan melon seedlings are doing good at the moment.

    Apr 14, 2012 | 11:37 pm

  18. connie says:

    Footloose, that was positively phallic! I think some mushrooms would be so jealous! LOL!

    Apr 14, 2012 | 11:38 pm

  19. Connie C says:

    Footloose, HA, HA,HA! and those “bad boys” can actually set you on fire!

    Apr 15, 2012 | 4:24 am

  20. betty q. says:

    Gejo…jalapeno peppers…besides the usual green ones that turn red in time, there are yellow jalapenos as well that turn orange and then red. In addition, there is also a PURPLE jalapeno, though it is more of aubergine.

    There is also a variety of jalapenos called FOOLED YOU Jalapenos. It doesn’t have the heat associated with jalapenos. So, you can have a bet with someone saying you could eat a dozen jalapenos just like that without blinking an eye or even a drop of water!!!!!

    Apr 15, 2012 | 6:41 am

  21. Jean | Lemons and Anchovies (Jean) says:

    I have been having huge pork belly cravings lately–oh, my!

    Apr 15, 2012 | 9:07 am

  22. millet says:

    gootloose: naughty, naughty! hahaha!

    Apr 15, 2012 | 11:12 pm

  23. Shane says:

    These jalapenos are great chopped up added to the usual mix of tomatoes, onions, soy sauce and vinegar served over itlog na pula. I love adding cilantro or wan soy for that extra zing. I am as it happens on vacation here in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Taco stands everywhere! I notice they grill the jalapenos to tame its heat as well as draw out its natural sweetness. Really, really good with grilled meats like your liempo. In many US restaurants these are served as appetizers. The jalapenos are slit on its side and de-seeded, stuffed with fillings such as cheese or crab/cheese mixture, breaded or dipped in batter and deep fried. Muy sabroso!

    Apr 16, 2012 | 1:04 am

  24. New Yorker says:

    Great concept as a marinade for the liempo. I make a Thai-ish marinade by throwing several jalapeños, a whole bunch of cilantro, lime, fish sauce and sugar in a food processor. I’ve used the marinade for salmon and chicken, baked or grilled.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 11:02 am

  25. Footloose says:

    @Millet, I can see you have been touch typing again. Most keyboards have a Braille dash on their F and J keys to make you feel you’re at home.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 7:06 pm


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