Cooking for health and pleasure with the hottest peppers on earth.
Greg Brooks had been living two years in the Bahamas, when as an 8-year old boy he was served a conch salad containing goatpeppers, considered at the time to be among the hottest in the world. Oblivious to the fire in his dish, he bit into a goatpepper with a growing child’s appetite. His mouth rocked out of his body, tears streamed, he cried with pain. And then something strange happened: “suddenly I became aware that I could discern things I had not been able to see before. The world became clearer, I heard better, my sense of smell expanded – in fact, all my senses were alive. I made myself eat more raw goatpepper, and despite the initial shock, tears and sweat, I began to feel more aware of my surroundings. I noticed that when I was playing in the tropical forest with my friends, I could see the thorns and pluck mosquitoes from the air and I became much more in tune with the jungle. In a few weeks, I stopped being a Canadian boy from the city and acclimatized to hard outdoor life in the Tropics.
As an adult, back in Canada, I found that cooking with hot peppers helped me cope with the stress and strain of city life and the rat race – regulating the adrenal function, protecting my heart, burning fat acquired through sedentary living, reinforcing my immune system. The bonus is – they taste amazing. I love to cook with them!”
Brooks Pepperfire Foods’ Peppermaster brand Trinidad Scorpion Butch T mash. 70%, pure fresh pepper, 30% fresh squeezed lime juice.
That journey with the goatpepper mash led Greg to experiment, working with the hottest peppers on earth. Currently these are the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, the Bhut Jolokia, the Naga Ghost and the Red Savina. He has made mashes with all these chile peppers, and incorporated them in various hot sauces. Are the benefits of hot peppers only in their effect on health and strengthening of the senses? ‘I’m a professional chef’, says Greg, ‘so for me, flavour is as important as heat, if not more so. For those who like spicy dishes, the sauces we make with those four extra-hot peppers have both flavour and heat – we use the Naga Ghost in our Jerk Curry sauce, the Bhut Jolokia forms part of the mix in Fusion Fire, Stingin’ Scorpion is a classic hot sauce made with the Butch T and with the Red Savina, we’ve made a hot sweet sauce with mangoes, called Red Savina Mango.
One of the great culinary advantages of ultra-hot peppers is their capacity to bring out the flavours of other ingredients in any dish. ‘A tiny bit of Scorpion mash will bring to life even the flattest dish, and the heat will not overpower the flavour, it will enhance it. Of course, if you are really sensitive, you may want to use a milder mash.”
This desire to play with peppers to bring out maximum flavour is what sparked Greg’s experimentation with Elixirs (previously released as “Syrups”). “The peppers are cooked and strained, cooked and strained again, and again, until I have a pure extract to which I’ll have added raw organic cane sugar and fresh spring water. Because of its high concentration, only tiny amounts of Elixir are used. For example, to make a medium-hot soup for four people, I would use only one eighth of a teaspoon of Elixir. Greg has made Elixirs with Yakima Naga Ghost chili peppers, Red Savina chile peppers and Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chilli peppers.
I can confirm that. I am a lightweight when it comes to hot peppers, but now readily use the ultra-hot mashes to bring a spark to my dishes. A very small quantity goes a long way and just as the 8-year old Greg was woken up by his goatpepper, my cooking has livened up since I started incorporating the hot pepper mashes.
So how might these four hottest peppers be used in cooking? As classic hot sauce, of course – for those who like their hot sauce hot! Chicken wings will especially take off with the Stingin’ Scorpion sauce, while the Scorpion Mash can be used with seafood or meat in any Tex-Mex, Cajun, Carribean or any spicy dish. These will also work very well with the Red Savina or the Naga Ghost. The Red Savina Mango tastes wonderful in a Thai salad or a hot mango dessert. The Jerk Curry can form the basis for a classic curry dish, a Trinidad curry, or any dishes to which you wish to add a sophisticated and definite taste of curry. I have used it to make Sockeye salmon fishcakes and a sandwich egg mix. For hotter curries, the Bhut Jolokia mash can be added to a Vindaloo for the perfect heat and flavour combination. Greg has also added most of his hottest peppers to his steak rub – hot chiles tenderize meat and reduce its acidity.
Stinging Scorpion Hot Sauce
All Peppermaster products are natural; free of chemicals, additives, and extracts. They are peanut-free and gluten-free, have less salt and avoid high fructose corn syrup. Many contain organic peppers and other organic ingredients, including the Red Savina and the Naga Ghost peppers.
Cooking for health and pleasure, I find these products are hot, powerful and flavoursome. To add this product line to your pantry, visit Peppermaster.com or the Peppermaster Shop in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada.