29 Dec2005

If you want a good laugh, read this post all the way through. hab1It 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 Joey’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 true…could these be fresh habanero chillies? I asked, with bated breath, and Joey didn’t actually know what they were… but he did say the Ilocano suppliers said they were wicked spicy so I took a chance and asked him how much they were… he said, “take them and Merry Christmas!” – so much for not accepting gifts…

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. hab2So I asked my trusted assistant and “Chief of Stuff” that likes all things spicy to chop up a chilli and mix it with soy sauce to test with his lunch… 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 translated… “darn right, I washed my hands twice and I still have this burning sensation down there…” I burst into laughter and realized he had gone to the john and well, had chili oils where the sun doesn’t shine. NOT a good situation to be in and I unfortunately couldn’t do anything about it… 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 didn’t wash his hands, twice? Boy, that’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 hab3fridge to take to the beach and slather on large prawns to be barbecued. To make the outrageously sweet/spicy marinade do the following… 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 ½ 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!



  1. ajyoung says:

    bought some habaneros when i was on vacation in california. it was cherry red in color and about the size of the big thumb. it was wickedly hot especially when you put it with stews. im quite glad that slowly our local growers are beginning to experiment with imported produce like herbs, chilis, yacon and the likes. thanks mm for information. :)

    Dec 29, 2005 | 4:20 am


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  3. sha says:

    I first encountered this when I was in the Caribbean.. I have a crew mate from Dominica who can eat anything just sooo hot…

    sarap kaya ng mango chilli spice mo….

    AKALA NG MISTER KO NABALIW NA KO SA KATATAWA, but he did remind me when I had my accident with chillies… I had to grab some tissue and accidentally rub my face with chili oil.. i was in tears while he was laughing.

    Dec 29, 2005 | 4:40 am

  4. fried-neurons says:

    Hahaha! Poor guy!

    Habaneros are WAY too hot for me! I wimp out even with the lowly jalapeno. Papano pa kaya pag habanero!

    Dec 29, 2005 | 9:01 am

  5. gonzo says:

    i have never seen habaneros in this country. very exciting. i will definitely be in salcedo this saturday. oh and that sauce you made sounds like the chillihead cult favourite Inner Beauty hot sauce.

    Dec 29, 2005 | 10:22 am

  6. rose aka sofia says:


    habaneros rule!

    Dec 29, 2005 | 2:58 pm

  7. joey says:

    I have never had habaneros, but it’s great to know that our local famers are working hard to produce more exotic (to us) veggies and herbs :) The story was hilarious!!! Poor guy though…

    Dec 29, 2005 | 5:00 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    He has recovered… no permanent damage… I tried the sauce I made with some grilled fish today and it was SUPERB! Can’t wait to try it on grilled prawns…

    Dec 29, 2005 | 9:30 pm

  9. Tom says:

    Worse yet never take out your contact lenses, even a few hours later, after handling peppers… trust me, tears will ensue.A good argument for having a box of latex gloves around in the kitchen when prepping hot peppers of any type.

    Dec 30, 2005 | 3:49 am

  10. pete says:

    hahahaha. I can attest to the powers of the habanero. I used to work in a mexican restaurant and we made a mean habanero sauce. One night a female co worker and i dared each other to take a shot of the sauce. The result was horendous. I was ok after an hour and a couple of antacids. She was sick all night and had the worst gas.

    I aslo remember a time, after cutting habaneros at work, I went home and got intimate with my GF. I’m not going to talk anymore I’ll let you use your imagination. I dont think this site is rated R, so I’ll keep it PG 13. I think she’s still mad at me.

    Dec 30, 2005 | 7:34 am

  11. maddie says:

    Di ko yata kaya ‘to. The bottled one I can’t even take on my pizza.

    Totally off-topic, but have you tried Valencia-type oranges from Sagada? I tried them recently (only one vendor in the Baguio market sells those I heard) and they are absolutely delicious! They are larger than the regular Valencia, very very juicy, sweet, and best of all, seedless!!! Just thought I’d mention it since we are on the subject of finding food stuff from unexpected local sources.

    Jan 1, 2006 | 5:22 am

  12. Mila says:

    Do they grow serranos too?

    Jan 2, 2006 | 9:46 am

  13. Marketman says:

    Mila, didn’t see serranos. Maddie, I had an entry on the Sagada oranges several months ago, please look it up in the archives…I agree they are excellent. Pete, you got it, don’t touch anything too sensitive…

    Jan 2, 2006 | 1:38 pm

  14. Lani says:

    Sagada oranges are really good.

    My sis-in-law was taken to the doctor because of burning sensation of her hands after slicing chillies for Bicol Express. She didn’t wear gloves.

    Jan 6, 2006 | 7:27 am

  15. Jonathan says:

    omg i tryed one of these at lunch lets just say it didnt go down well….

    May 22, 2007 | 9:28 am


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