If you want a good laugh, read this post all the way through. It has a really funny portion which had me in stitches for the better part of an hour (when it actually happened). On Christmas Eve, I shot over to the Salcedo market to get my herb selection up to par and as I careened around at 8 am I quickly purchased what I needed and was disappointed to note that my ensaimada and budbud sukis were both absent! Outrageous! At any rate, I needed serious stocks of eggs for the baking over the next few days so I stopped by Joeyâ€™s vegetable stand (the biggest one there) and haggled for two trays of organic eggs. Out of the corner of my eye I spied a small plastic bag filled with small stunning yellow peppers. It was just too good to be trueâ€¦could these be fresh habanero chillies? I asked, with bated breath, and Joey didnâ€™t actually know what they wereâ€¦ but he did say the Ilocano suppliers said they were wicked spicy so I took a chance and asked him how much they wereâ€¦ he said, â€œtake them and Merry Christmas!â€ â€“ so much for not accepting giftsâ€¦
Back home, I looked them up and they did indeed look like habaneros (reportedly the hottest chillies on the planet bar none, at 2-3 times hotter than sili labuyo measured on the Scoville spiciness scale) but I wanted to be sure. So I asked my trusted assistant and â€œChief of Stuffâ€ that likes all things spicy to chop up a chilli and mix it with soy sauce to test with his lunchâ€¦ he sliced it up and removed the seeds because he said he could smell that it was wicked spicy. He then got a telephone call, washed his hands, handled the enquiry and heard the call of nature. Many minutes later, he came back from the john and I asked him if the chillis were really spicy and he said basically translatedâ€¦ â€œdarn right, I washed my hands twice and I still have this burning sensation down thereâ€¦â€ I burst into laughter and realized he had gone to the john and well, had chili oils where the sun doesnâ€™t shine. NOT a good situation to be in and I unfortunately couldnâ€™t do anything about itâ€¦ It was just too funny. NEVER touch any sensitive body parts like your nose, eyes or ahems when you have chilli oils on your hands! Can you imagine if he didnâ€™t wash his hands, twice? Boy, thatâ€™s a lesson for lazy cooks out there! At any rate, the chillis were wicked spicy indeed.
A day or two later, I decided to make a mango/chilli/spice marinade that I stocked in fridge to take to the beach and slather on large prawns to be barbecued. To make the outrageously sweet/spicy marinade do the followingâ€¦ De-seed and chop 6-10 habaneros using disposable plastic gloves. Throw them into a bowl with two chopped ripe mangoes and add 1 cup of mustard and about Â½ cup of brown sugar, 5 tablespoons of white vinegar, juice of 4 dayaps, generous dashes of curry and chilli powder and salt and pepper. Use a hand-held mixer to blend it all together and store in glass bottles in the fridge. Good as a yellow Tabasco equivalent, I will let you know if it works well with the prawns. The heat is a slow burn that reaches its peak several seconds after you taste the sauce. Amazing, really. And how nice to know that folks are trying to grow new produce! Just make sure to watch those chilli oils!