Tuesday, February 15, 2005

bo's first aid tip of the day

thought i'd pass this along to any of my not so numerous readers that may need it.

this evening, we were sitting around the lunch table at work, and the topic of HOT FOOD, as in thermonuclear heat, fire in the mouth, sting ring producing heat came up.
i guess it started when i was shaking on the habenero sauce on my dinner. one of the guys commented that he liked the taste and sensation that my sauce brought to the dish, but he hated having his mouth and lips burn for the next hour.

so here's my tip:

learned that little trick from an old engineer i used to work with that ate scotch bonnet peppers like fat ladies eat bon-bons. one night he opened a bottle of pickled tabasco peppers and offered me one. so of course i took it. zounds was that hot. he laughed, and tossed me a roll of wintergreen lifesavers. i'd have eaten a fresh cow pattie if it would have cut the fire at that point. almost instantaneous relief. so now i have a bag of individually wrapped lifesavers in my desk drawer, and hand them out to those too foolish to read the warning lables. or when we get gai gra prow chicken from the local thai restaurant, when the old woman is cooking. medium to her is way above most people's pain threshold. tasty, but hot. just the way i like it. here is a recipe that looks like it is pretty close to the stuff we get at the restaurant, except i don't think the old woman uses jalapenos. she probably uses thai peppers, also known as little red atomic death units. pops grows one called the Thai Firebird that will definitely get your attention.
so here is the recipe stolen in toto from the link above. it's pretty darned good. vary the pepper amount to vary the heat, but the hotter, the better for this dish. the link takes you to an online thai import store, where various products for authentic thai dishes are available.

Thai Chicken with Basil


  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed red & green jalapeno peppers
  • 1 teaspoon green peppercorns, whole.
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves, add ground pepper if preferred
  • You can vary this recipe by adding a medium diced spanish onion or sliced green onions, or a combination.
  • 1 pound ground or minced chicken


The garlic, shallots, peppers and peppercorns are ground together in a mortar and pestle. In a hot wok with a little cooking oil, briefly stir fry this paste to bring out the flavor and aroma. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to stir until the chicken is cooked through.


Serve over Thai jasmine rice, or over a fried egg or egg crepe, placed on the rice. For dinner it goes well with the hot and sour tom yum soups, as well as curries and other Thai food.

Add the usual Thai table condiments as well as ground chilis and sugar. You might add ground black pepper also.

editor's note: raw sugar will work here, but you need to cut back a bit on the proportions. i may have to try this with honey too. black peppercorns would be an acceptable sub for the green.

as in any recipe: you don't have to be a slave to the printed word for non-baking recipes. experiment, bring some of your experience to the dish. who knows? you might be the next food channel chef!

bothenook sez: check it out!

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here


Blogger Allan said...

The oils from the peppers are soluablized by the wintergreen oil in the mints.

Just like they are in milk. Yes, a sip or two of non-skim milk will wash the burn from your tongue, too.

2/15/05, 9:04 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

true, but you can't carry a roll of non-fat milk around in your pocket!

2/15/05, 9:09 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Allan, I should have known you'd know the explanation. ;-)

Nook, that sounds great!

2/17/05, 4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm eating the results of this recipe right now. Some changes I made to fit my circumstances: I substituted soy for fish sauce; I diced a chicken breast instead of using ground meat; I added a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger; I liquidised the chile/shallot paste in my food processor since I don't have a mortar and pestle.

2/19/05, 8:27 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

GREAT! i love it when someone takes a recipe, modifies it a bit, and comes up with a winner. i've actually had this dish with sliced chicken as well as ground or minced. it's probably on a thai menu somewhere. so, how'd it turn out for you? i like the fish sauce, so i never considered subbing soy, but it makes perfect sense.

2/19/05, 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm eating the remnnants for lunch at this very moment. It's a winner. People are asking what that delicious smell is. The soy works fine (I didn't use fish sauce because the smallest bottle I could buy would go bad long before I used it all), and the ginger complements the basil well. I think the trick here is not to use too much - perhaps half an ounce peeled or 3/4 unpeeled. Certainly food-processing the veggies worked well. I ended up with something the consistency (and potency) of Sambal sauce. I forgot to say, I added half a tablespoon of peanut oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil to the food processer while it was running.

This one's a real keeper. I can't wait to try it again. As an experiment I am also going to try it with shredded jumbo prawns. Other ideas: add a tablespoon of tamarind essence; substitute coriander (cilantro) for the basil. This is a very good base for experimentation.

2/21/05, 9:30 AM  

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