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Chiltepe Peppers

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Chiltepe Peppers

JoanN | May 14, 2011 02:08 PM

The chiltepe is the favored, ubiquitous, chile of Guatemala. Rworange posted excellent info and links to photos last year on the General Topics board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7002... , although she says they have “the toned down heat of a jalapeno” and I must say that hasn’t been my experience. I like spicy and can bite into a jalapeno without running to the fridge for a mouthful of milk as I did the first time I ate a whole, very tiny, chiltepe.

I’ve had chiltepe salsas made by others and I’ve had dishes made with chiltepe, but not often. Guatemalans, at least most of the ones I know, seem not to care much for spicy food. At all. So when I’m cooking here, for anyone other than myself, I leave anything chile-like out of the dish and serve hot sauce on the side.

So the other day when I was expecting company for cocktails and was making up a big batch of Guatemalan-style shrimp ceviche, I left all hot elements out of the ceviche but decided to try making a chiltepe salsa. I found a recipe on the Internet that called for toasting the chiltepes slightly, crushing them with a mortar and pestle, and adding finely chopped onion, the zest and juice of a lime, and a bunch of finely minced cilantro. Man! Is that good stuff. And pretty powerful.

I’m sure the salsa will work just fine at home with jalapenos, but I’m going to miss these little peppers a lot. I will not, however, miss cleaning them. Not quite as tedious as peeling favas or preparing artichoke bottoms, but almost.

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