Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Recipe using Chile Manzano

Chiles Manzanos (Capsicum pubescens)

While the majority of the chiles of Mexico come from the Capsicum annuum specie (poblano, jalapeño, serrano, chilaca, morrón or bell, and more), there is one stand-out from the C. pubescens specie that is much-loved here in the Bajio of Mexico where I live: Chile Manzano. Of the five domesticated species of chiles, the C. pubescens is characterized by inedible black seeds and purple flowers. This is the only domesticated specie that has no wild form and doesn't cross-polinate with other species. First cultivated by the Incas of Peru over an estimated 5000 years ago, this very hot chile is known there as rocoto. Other names for it are chile peron (pear chile), caballo (horse chile), locoto, canario (canary chile--for the yellow type), and manzano for its apple-like shape.

When I returned home last Friday from giving a talk on chiles at San Miguel de Allende's Botanical Garden (see the previous post for the accompanying article), I gave Martha Martínez, who works for me and frequently assists me in cooking classes, the bulk of the fresh chiles I had used in my talk. She promptly went home and worked her magic on the various pods. The following is her recipe for using the very spicy chile manzano as a picante table sauce:

Martha Martínez's Recipe for Chile Manzano Encurtido

6 chiles manzanos
Two large pinches of dried oregano
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup white vinegar

1 small jícama, peeled and julienned
1 medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and cut into half moons

Slice the chiles crosswise into thin rings. Remove seeds and veins. Place the chiles in a bowl with the dried oregano, salt, and three parts fresh lime juice to one part white vinegar (about 3/4 cup lime juice and 1/4 cup vinegar. Mix well to dissolve the salt. Place in a glass container and refrigerater overnight.

The following day, drain the chiles and add the jícama and cucumber to cut the heat somewhat. Add more lime juice and salt to taste.

No comments: