Field Notes

Peppertizers - Easy Pepper Appetizers That Everyone Will Love

Here at The Chili Lab, we encourage you to do more than just make your own hot sauce. We want you to go beyond heat and enjoy the chili pepper for the unique fruit that it is. That is why we like to showcase ways you can use peppers to entertain your audiences. If you are looking up easy appetizer recipes, look no further than these pepper side dishes. They take little work on your end and will be the talk of your gathering.

Cream Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Tribelli Mini Peppers

Cream Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers via That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Image via That Skinny Chick Can Bake

What we love about this peppertizer is how easy it is to make a lot of them. These mini peppers come in bulk in many produce aisles. So, for just five bucks, you'll have a bunch of bases. While we love our chilies, this stuffing is where the gold is. After you read this recipe, you might want to get a couple of bags of mini peppers!

Ingredients:

🌶 8 Morita Chili Peppers
🌶 1 pound fresh Divine Flavor Tribelli peppers (sweet mini peppers)
🌶 1 pound mild Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained of fat
🌶 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
🌶 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
🌶 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
🌶 Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Get the full recipe courtesy of That Skinny Chick Can Bake.

Bell Pepper Pizza

Bell Pepper Pizzas via Peas and Crayons

Image Via Peas and Crayons

You had us at pizza. But then you go and throw bell pepper in there, and we're definitely sold. This recipe is another take on stuffed peppers but with everyone's favorite topping...pizza. Wait, isn't the pizza supposed to be the one with the toppings? Well, it still can with this peppertizer!

Ingredients:

🌶 8 Morita Chili Peppers
🌶 1 large bell pepper
🌶 1/4 cup pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
🌶 1/4 cup grated cheese
🌶 a pinch of red pepper flakes
🌶 a pinch of basil or parsley
🌶 as many toppings as you can fit

Get the recipe via Peas and Crayons.

Mini Hummus & Roasted Red Pepper Phyllo Bites 

Mini Phylo Bites via Cook in Canuck

Image Via Cook in Canuck.

This vegetarian appetizer will have the carnivores salivating. It has the vegan marriage made in Heaven: roasted red peppers and hummus. Roasted red peppers and hummus is the new age peanut butter and jelly, trust us. 

Ingredients:

🌶 30 Athens Mini Fillo Shells (2 boxes), defrosted 
🌶 3/4 c + 3 tbsp hummus (I use Sabra)
🌶 1/2 c diced English cucumber
🌶 1 roasted red pepper (2 halves), diced
🌶 1 1/4 oz. (1/4 c) crumbled feta cheese
🌶 2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley

Get the recipe via Cook in Canuck.

 Blistered Shishito Peppers with Sriracha Aioli

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Sriracha

Image via Savory Simple.

Sriracha and Shishito? Both sides of our mouths are watering. These peppertizers are mild with a hint of heat that will make your guests keep coming back for more. So, be sure to set some aside for yourself!

Ingredients:

Sriracha Aioli

🌶 1/4 cup mayonnaise
🌶 1 tablespoon Sriracha, or more to taste
🌶 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
🌶 1 clove garlic, grated or minced (see notes)
🌶 Kosher salt if desired

Blistered Shishito Peppers

🌶 8 ounces (approximately 4 cups) shishito peppers; Padrón peppers may be substituted
🌶 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (grapeseed or canola oil are also good options)
🌶 1/2 medium lemon (approximately 1 tablespoon juice)
🌶 Kosher or sea salt to taste

Get recipe via Savory Simple.

Really Good Jalapeño Dip

Really Good Jalapeno Dip

Image Via Inspired by Charm

Every party needs a good dip. Why not kick this dip up? Literally! Sure, many people turn to the jalapeño for the tried-and-true jalapeño popper. However, there are many other uses for the jalapeño. For instance, why not give this favorite pepper the center stage as the kick needed in your dip?

Ingredients:

🌶 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese softened
🌶 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
🌶 1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
🌶 1 large red pepper finely diced
🌶 5 jalapeño peppers seeded and finely diced
🌶 1 bag Tostitos Scoop chips

Get the recipe by Inspired by Charm.

Learn more about the chilies you've seen today with our Hot Sauce Field Guide!

Pepper of the Week: Morita Pepper

The Morita Pepper is one of the most popular chili peppers in Mexican cuisine. Typically used died, Morita chili peppers pack a lot of heat. While Morita chili peppers have a kick, they back up the bite with a ton of flavor.

Morita Pepper

A Morita pepper has a nutty profile that boasts a lingering smoky afterbite. Popular with the Aztecs and with a long line of fanatics today, let's shed the spotlight on the Morita Pepper. 

What is a Morita Pepper?

Morita chili peppers received their name as a loose Spanish translation to "pepper black berry." Many liken their looks to that of a mulberry. These resemblances are much in thanks to the dried chilies' dark red/purplish hue. Like the mulberry, the Morita has a bit of a sweet flavor. This fruity nuance bursts through the initial heat you experience when biting into a Morita pepper. 

While it may look like a berry and have citrusy nodes, the Morita Pepper is actually a member of the jalapeño family. These fruits develop their chocolate-like aromas when they passed the ripening stage, becoming red. At its highest heat, the Morita pepper can boast a Scoville level of 10,000 SHU. 

How to Use a Morita Pepper?

Being such a celebrated staple of the Mexican community, you can use the Morita pepper in a litany of tantalizing dishes.

Morita chili peppers are typically used in:

🌶 Moles

🌶 Stews

🌶 Hot Sauce

🌶 Salsas

🌶 Adoboes

🌶 Soups

As you can see, the versatile flavors of the Morita pepper offer this fruit as a great accompaniment to any dish. Here are some of our favorite recipes involving the Morita pepper.

Pork Tenderloin

with Morita Chili Pepper Salsa

Pork and salsa? This is an authentic Mexican dish made to make your mouth-water. The spiciness and fruitiness of the salsa bring great balance to the juicy pork tenderloin. Check out the recipe courtesy of Que Rica Vida.

Pork Tenderloin

🌶 8 Morita Chili Peppers
🌶 3 Garlic Cloves
🌶 2 cups of Water
🌶 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
🌶 1 tsp Ground Cumin
🌶 2 tsp Powdered Seasoning
🌶  Sea Salt, if necessary
🌶 3 lbs Pork Tenderloin
🌶 1 T Olive Oil
🌶 6 Slices of Pineapple

Get the recipe via Que Rica Vida.

Smoky Spicy Amaretto

After a long day, a stiff drink is much needed. A great way to unwind is to sweat out the stress. Enjoy the decompression process with this biteful, spiteful, and delightful drink! Courtesy of Well Preserved

Amaretto

Ingredients:

🌶 Chili Syrup
🌶 1 cup of Sugar
🌶 2-3 Dried Morita Peppers 
🌶 1.5 ounces Amaretto 
🌶 1 ounce Chili Syrup 
🌶 1 ounce Lemon Juice
🌶 Ice
🌶 Thin Slices of Lime, Lemon, Morita Peppers

Get the recipe via Well Preserved

Celebrate the Morita Pepper

Can't get enough of the Morita pepper? We don't blame ya one bit! That's why it's our Pepper of the Week. Join us on Instagram @TheChiliLab. We'll cover all things Morita Pepper including how to make your own hot sauce. 

Want to take your love for food to the next level. Try our DIY Hot Sauce Kit. This Hot Sauce Making Kit has everything you need from bottles, strainers, to chili flakes. Artisan hot sauce...but homemade!

 

Pepper of the Week: Raja Mirchi

#POW

Pepper of the Week

Raja Mirchi/Ghost Pepper

We're used to going bold each #POW, but this week we just went bolder. It's the ghost pepper, Raja Mirchi.

This pepper commands respect from foodies...and their taste buds. Once dubbed the "hottest chili pepper in the world," people keep coming back for more.

Why are they hooked on the ghost? Let's dive a bit deeper in the Raja Mirchi, ghost pepper. 

What is a Raja Mirchi Pepper?

This beautiful pepper means a lot to many cultures. The Raja Mirchi brings a delicate heat to so many Asian delicacies. From curries to chutneys, the Raja Mirchi's spice is slightly offset by the fruit's sweet flavor. That complexity is the charm that keeps the locals hooked on this ghost pepper! 

Raja Mirchi

Image via Down to Earth

The popularity of this chili pepper has earned this fruit many monikers. Therefore, you might see these peppers in specialty produce stores...and might not even realize you're looking at them!

The long list of names for the Raja Mirchi Pepper includes:

🌶 Naga Jolokia (Serpent Chili)

🌶 Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili)

🌶 Bih Jolokia (Poison Chili in Assamese)

🌶 Raja Mirchi (King Pepper in Hindi)

🌶 Pasa Kala (Chief Chili in Mishmi)

With such revered names, you can see this scorcher is well-respected. So, why does the Raja Mirchi command such respect? Let's look a little closer this week's #POW.

Characteristics of a Raja Mirchi Pepper:

🌶 Heat intensity: Hot

🌶 Size: 2 -3 inches 

🌶 Scoville Units: 800,000 to 900,000 SHU

🌶 Flavor Profiles: Subtly Sweet, Grassy Nodes

As you can see, despite the heat, the Raja Mirchi has quite a nuanced flavor. Its subtle sweetness makes for a burn you can long for. 

History of the Raja Mirchi Pepper

This pepper's history is far entwined with Indian culture and cuisine. While natives have long heralded the heat that comes from the ghost pepper, the Raja Mirchi didn't rise to foodie prominence until the early 2000s.

Raja Mirchi Pepper

Image via The Better India

A London, England-based restaurant called the Cinnamon Club carried a dish known as the world's hottest curry. This meal is brandished the Bollywood Burner.

The lamb-based dish contained seven of the deadly hot peppers in its creamy gravy. Those who chose the dish have to sign a waiver before being served!

Since its debut in the mainstream, the heat behind the Raja Mirchi has come to light. In fact, Indian military is tinkering with using this pepper in their weapon arsenal! In the meantime, this aromatic fruit is also used as a deterrent to protect elephants and crops in Asia. 

Raja Mirchi Pepper Recipes

Think you can stand the heat? Then get in the kitchen. There are so many ways to use King Pepper in your everyday life. Here are a few!

King Chili Chutney

Chutney is such a versatile tool in the kitchen. You can use it as a glaze for your meats. However, it's also a great accompaniment to toast in the morning. What's fun about chutney is you can add a little spice to the sweetness. To make it even easier, we just happen to have this recipe courtesy of Roots and Leisure here

King Chili Chutney

Image via Roots and Leisure

Ingredients:

🌶 1 King Chili Pepper (Raja Mirchi)
🌶 1 Large Tomato
🌶 1 Clove of Garlic
🌶 Salt to Taste

Look simple enough? Get the recipe courtesy of Roots and Leisure here. 

Naga Style Pork Raja Mirchi

Perhaps no other meat complements the complexity of Raja Mircho more than pork. It's flavored get lost within the pork's fibers, bringing out more nuances with each bite. Your mouth-watering yet? Then check out the recipe courtesy of First Post here

Pork Chili

Image via First Post

Ingredients:

🌶 1 T Salt
🌶 Pork
🌶 1 Raja Mirchi Pepper
🌶 4 Dried Red Kashmiri Chillies

🌶 8 Cloves Garlic
🌶 1 tsp Salt

To get the complete recipe, check out First Post here.

Celebrate Pepper of the Week

Don't ghost us all week long on the ghost pepper. Follow us on Instagram @TheChiliLab as we celebrate all things Raja Mirchi Pepper.

These recipes get your mind turning? Try making some sauce at home. It's now easier than ever with our Homemade Hot Sauce Kit. 

 

Pepper of the Week: Bulgarian Carrot Pepper

#POW
Pepper of the Week:
Bulgarian Carrot Pepper

This week's #POW brings the pow as Bug Bunny does to Elmer Fudd. We're talking a carrot pepper. Our Pepper of the Week is the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper. Also known as shipka, the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper can be used a variety of ways. From salsa recipes to hot sauce...heck, even bread, we've got you covered. Let's get to know a bit about the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper. 

What is a Bulgarian Carrot Pepper?

This heirloom pepper has a unique flavor profile. It's a tad bit sweet with the bite of spice we know and love from jalapeño. As the name implies, at its full maturity, the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper resembles a carrot. 

Bulgarian Carrot Pepper

Image via Mad Meat Genius

Characteristics of a Bulgarian Carrot Pepper:

🌶 Heat intensity: Medium to Hot

🌶 Size: 2 -5 inches 

🌶 Scoville Units: 5,000 to 30,000 SHU

🌶 Flavor Profiles: Sweet, Tangy, Bit of Heat

This pepper brings a nice pop to your plate. Its versatility allows you to spice up a breakfast omelet, bring some crunch to a lunchtime salad, or a savory bread perfect to dip into your soup!

History of the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper

The modern-day Bulgarian Pepper is believed to be cross-between habanero pepper commonly found in the Caribbean and an old-school Bulgarian pepper. This pepper was known as the Shipka. 

Shipka is a term to describe a range of prickly shrubs. In particular, Bulgarians have dubbed wild roses as shipkas. Based on the color of the original Bulgarian Carrot Pepper resembling rose hips, it earned the shipka name. Although, others also say the name came from the small town of Shipka that lies in the center of Bulgaria. That's the mystery that comes along with history!

The pepper stayed around the Black Sea and Greece until the 1980s. This orange-hued pepper found its way to the Caribbean region when the pepper was smuggled out of the Iron Curtain.

Winston Churchill came up with the term, "Iron Curtain" to describe the divide of a post-World War II Europe.

Winston Churchill, Iron Curtain Speech

Winston Churchill "Iron Curtain Speech

Image via Missouri State Archives

One side was aligned with the States, while the other was under Soviet rule. Sometime during the 1980s, the peppers crossed the sea. While they still thrive in colder areas, Bulgarian Carrot Peppers can be found in the States today!

Bulgarian Carrot Pepper Recipes

Now that you know a thing or two about this unique pepper, let's give you some Bulgarian Carrot Pepper recipes!

Bulgarian Carrot Pepper Bread

Nothing compliments a hot soup, makes better use of spaghetti sauce, or hold together a sandwich like a delicious bread. This savory recipe courtesy of PermaCulture News will have your mouth watering and your belly satisfied!

Ingredients:

🌶 1- 8oz Package Cream Cheese (Softened) 
🌶 2 Large Farm Fresh Eggs
🌶 4 cups Mozzarella Cheese
🌶 2-3 Bulgarian Carrot Peppers 
🌶 2 cups Almond Flour
🌶 2 tsp. Aluminum-free Baking Powder

Get the full recipe at PermaCulture News. 

Bulgarian Carrot Pepper Salsa

Salsas are great because you dip chips, dress up your eggs, or add a kick to your baked chicken breast. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to tag us on Instagram @TheChiliLab! Here is the recipe courtesy of Feed Your Skull

The Salsa Recipe

Image via Feed Your Skull

Ingredients:

🌶 2 - 14.5 oz cans of Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes (No Salt)
🌶 1 cup Lightly Packed Cilantro, Chopped
🌶 1 cup Diced Onion
🌶  4 Cloves Garlic, Minced

🌶 1 Bulgarian Carrot Pepper
🌶 1/2 Lime
🌶 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Sea Salt

For an extra kick, add a little citrus burst with The Chili Lab Grove Blend Chili Flakes. Get the recipe via Feed Your Skull here.

Bulgarian Carrot Chile Sauce Recipe

Seeing as we have our own At-Home Homemade Hot Sauce Kit, we can't help but share a hot sauce recipe for this week's Pepper of the Week! Let's take a look at this recipe courtesy of the Mad Meat Genius.

Bulgarian Chile Hot Sauce

Image via Mad Meat Genius

Ingredients:

🌶 ½ pound of Bulgarian Carrot Pepper 
🌶 ½ Small Onion, Chopped
🌶 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
🌶¼ cup of Vinegar
🌶 ½ cup of Water
🌶 1 Tablespoon Sugar (Honey)

 Get the complete recipe at Mad Meat Genius.

Celebrate Pepper of the Week

Now that you know the 4-1-1 on the Bulgarian Carrot Pepper, join in on the fun. Follow us @TheChiliLab on Instagram and celebrate all things Bulgarian Carrot Pepper all week long!

Pepper of the Week: Prik Chi Faa

Little is known on this week's Pepper of the Week. However, this chili pepper has left a lasting effect on the taste buds of many people across the globe. Many just don't know that. That's because Prik Chi Faa is the unsung hero of a niche group of hot saucers. Just who are we talking about? Read on! 

What is a Prik Chi Faa Pepper?

Okay, first...let's get to the bottom of pronouncing this pepper. The correct way is:
phrikH cheeH faaH

Formal greetings out of the way, the Prik Chi Faa has a slightly sweet taste with a moderate-to-hot flavor profile. When picked early, the green Prik Chi Faa Peppers are popular to use in stir-fries.

Prik Chi Faa
Image via Kitazawa

The longer Prik Chi Faa harvest, the more heat these peppers begin to pack. Then, they are dried up and ground into spices or thrown into popular Thai dishes such as Pad Thai. These crispy Eastern peppers run the Scoville gamut from 5,000 SHU to 30,000 SHU. 

History of the Prik Chi Faa Pepper and Sriracha

Not much has been said about the history of this pepper. However, Prik Chi Faa is infamous for spawning the popular sriracha craze still going strong today!  

Sriracha

Image via Paul Narvaez

Do you love Sriracha? Yeah, well the Thai people don't. That's because the Vietnamese-American version tastes nothing like theirs! The concept of Sriracha came from Thailand. A woman named Thanom Chakkapark from a community known as Sri Racha created the blueprint for today's Sriracha.
Ms. Chakkapark envisioned a cocktail sauce that would compliment the abundance of seafood in her seaside community. She integrated the following ingredients to make the prototype for the sauce dangling from keychains that we see today.
  • Prik Chi Faa
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Sugar

These ingredients would ferment in a cask for three months. The finished product is a liquidy substance almost the consistency of Tabasco sauce. Compared to the Sriracha we know, the spice level was quite mild.

How to Use Prik Chi Faa Peppers?

These peppers are very versatile. They are semi-sweet and slightly bitter. Due to such a range of notes, you can use Prik Chi Faa Peppers to compliment any dish. 

Some of the popular ways to use Prik Chi Faa Peppers include:

  • Raw Oyster Shooters
  • Khai Jiao Wok-Fried Omelette
  • Fried Food Sauce
  • Pad Thai
  • Seafood

Popular Ways to Use Prik Chi Faa Peppers

One of the methods Thai cuisine uses Prik Chi Faa is by grinding the pepper up into a paste. That way you can use it as a base in any broth, stir-fry, or even a blended beverage. Add a pinch of The Chili Lab Forager's Blend Flakes for an added flavor burst!

Prik Chi Faa Paste

Image via Curious Cuisiniere

Ingredients:

  • Dried Prik Chi Faa Chilies 
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Shallot, Chopped
  • 1/2 Stalk Lemongrass
  • 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger
  • 1/2 Lime
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • Cayenne Powder

To get the recipe, check out Curious Cuisiniere

How to Use Prik Chi Faa in a Meal

What if you don't want to make a paste? Do something a little more natural to your roots...Make a marinade. We've all made a delicious marinade a time or two, and this one is no exception. Sprinkle in some of The Chili Lab Grove Blend Chili Flakes to add some citrus nuance to this Thai-inspired dish. Here is a recipe for Crying Tiger Beef.

Crying Tiger BeefImage via 196 Flavors

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 T FLish Sauce
  • 3 T Tamarind Paste
  • Lime Juice
  • 2 T Palm Sugar
  • 2 T Water
  • 2 T Soy Saice
  • 1 Prik Chi Faa Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 1 Stalk Lemongrass
  • 3 Thai Basil Leaves
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Thai Scallion, Chopped

Get the full recipe at 196 Flavors

Get Social with Prik Chi Faa Pepper

Feel like a Prik Chia Faa Know-It-All. Spread the knowledge with us on Instagram all week long!