Thursday, October 23, 2008

A case of mistaken identity

One of the most important ingredients used in Venezuelan cuisine is the "ají dulce" (literally, 'sweet pepper')...it really adds flavor to soups and sauces. So I was pretty excited to find some at the store yesterday. I began chopping them for a chicken dish, but thought I'd try them to see if they were hot or not. I took a bite and wham! Yeah, they were hot! I didn't think it would be that bad, though, so I chopped just a little bit and added them to the chicken. I cooked some rice and then served supper. Immediately, the kids began reacting to the food with complaints of how spicy it was! I served ice water and encouraged them to "do their best". But as Miguel and I continued to eat, we realized the food WAS pretty spicy and the more we ate, the spicier it got! So Gracia and Jojo both got to eat some rice-and-milk-and-sugar instead. Jkaile was happy with plain rice. Micah persevered, but had to drink a lot of water and could only eat the chicken, not the sauce...Miguel finally asked me, were those habanero chilies? I said, "NO!" But that got me thinking...finally I went and looked at the receipt and sure enough, I had mistaken habanero chilies for 'ají dulce'!!!!! Habaneros are pretty much the spiciest peppers around and here I was serving them to my kids! Oh goody, what a Mom!


Habanero chilies

Ají dulce
You will notice that they are about the same size and shape...and colors as well! The Habanero peppers shown are yellow, but can be green, orange, and red...

8 comments:

My Place of Peace said...

I'm laughing because I did the EXACT same thing last summer! :)

Cindy said...

that's funny! i laughed!
I've been afraid to buy the sweeter pepper at a Mexican
market here for fear that they
really are habaneros....I can't
tell the difference!!

CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

Oh baby! I LOVE habanero peppers, but NOT as a substitute for other peppers! I feel your pain! My empleada said to add sugar to any dish that is "too spicy" - maybe give that a try - but I'm not sure with habanero's it would make much of a difference :-) At least they won't have stomach bugs for awhile - they kill everything!

Becky Aguirre said...

Yeah, Miguel was like, see? The habanero peppers are a little wider on top by the stem...I still can't tell the dif! But, I have to say that I LOVED the way the dish turned out! I had it for lunch and supper today since nobody else wanted to eat it...well, I guess Miguel would have eaten it, but he wasn't there! :)

Becky Aguirre said...

That's an interesting idea to add sugar, I should try that next time...it might have helped with this sauce to have added sugar and also some water, since I had simmered it a long time to reduce it...but I still don't think the kids would have eaten it!

Alan & Beth McManus said...

That's so hilarious! I made albondigas (meat balls) for our youth group Christmas dinner last year and made them so spicy nobody but us could eat them. I thought Mexicans loved spicy! Wimps. =)

Actually, it's best to drink milk and eat bread or tortillas with spicy food. Water just spreads it, but milk counteracts it. The bready things soak it up off your tongue.

Becky Aguirre said...

That's funny! I've been surprised, though, by how tastes differ here...some like it hot and some don't! Yeah, I should have given them milk...I did give Micah a piece of bread and that helped.

My hand is still tingling, by the way! :o wild.

Ellie said...

I was smiling thinking about you while I made green tomato salsa yesterday for the teacher's treat at school. One of the hottest tastes I have had was coconut milk soup - chicken, green chilis, chunks of ginger, and coconut milk. Wow! Hot! But maybe because I am more used to Mexican flavors of hot that this dish, a Thai one, was something I was not used to. Who knows? But it was hot!