I’ve always envied people with iron-clad stomachs. Who can consume the legendary five-alarm Texas chili without batting the proverbial eye. Who can eat virtually everything even remotely edible without gastronomic complaint, stopping just short of the kitchen sink (although there is one gentleman who has been documented by the Guinness Book of World Records to have actually eaten–but not digested–tires, nuts, and bolts–but that’s another story).
These are the same individuals who think nothing of making a snack out of raw peppers. I saw this very thing happen in Malaysia many years ago when I was just ten. Under the heat of the midday sun, a native Malay woman, seated on a nondescript bench and dressed in a thick, hooded robe, was pulling out unidentified, small, long, thin green chili after chili from a big burlap bag to to her left. She munched and crunched happily away, clearly oblivious to her surroundings. I was breaking into sweats, just taking in both her attire and choice of incendiary comestible.
Several years ago, during one catered office lunch, two of my colleagues decided to try a fiery noodle soup from a local Asian restaurant. Ken was slightly hot under the collar. Joel, on the other hand, was lobster red in the face, his eyes running, and he was literally raining buckets. Fortunately the fire extinguisher was nearby, because he looked like he was about to burst into flames.
Even though I grew up enjoying Indian and Asian curry in its mild-to-medium incarnations, I know my innards do not have the intestinal fortitude to be so bold or brave as to embrace heartburn or the inevitable ring of fire that serves to excoriate every bit of bacteria, good and bad, living in my gut. So I was glad to make the discovery of pickled Peppadew peppers in a local grocer last week.
Peppadew is a sweet chili pepper from South Africa that won’t rock the Scoville scale for spiciness, but will add a nice bit of zing to your food. According to its Wikipedia profile, they were discovered in 1993, making them one of the newest chilis available today. Like most peppers, removal of the seeds will tone down the spiciness of the peppers (also, I discovered that eating curry cold the next day takes most of the spiciness out of it).
Have a glass of milk, coconut, yogurt or almond milk, just in case.
- Peppadew Pepper Recipes (yummly.com)
- Here’s The Scientific Scale Used To Classify Spicy Food (businessinsider.com)