This is a true story. My mother is an excellent cook of hot dishes. That includes the level of heat in terms of spiciness and temperature. Her dishes were fiery hot, often making people run for water. Her recipes usually call for a handful of chillies, not ones or twos. My uncle, her brother, shares this passion with her along with diabetes, high cholesterol and high BP. Well, that’s another story.
Their particular interest in hot dishes, specifically chillies was really amusing to us – me, my sister and brother when we were children. So one day, we decided to conduct an experiment to determine how much heat, my uncle can endure. We made elaborate plans, and found the perfect specimen – “Kanthari Mulagu” (Thai pepper), tiny little fiery chillies known for its scoville pungency scale of 50,000 – 100,000. It was decided to carry out this experiment in my home during lunch time when he usually visits. The idea behind the experiment was to hide the chillies in a plate of rice, and record his reactions during the meal. I know, we were mean kids!. The day arrived and my mom called us for setting the table. That means absconding to the nearest bathroom or intensely concentrating on your books refusing any call for help. But this time, things changed. We were more than ready to help.
Being the youngest in my family, I was always the lookout while my siblings perform the interesting jobs in their experiment. They set the table and placed 5 – 6 red hot chillies in the plate and covered it with rice. My uncle arrived, had his lunch, appreciated my mother’s cooking and laughed at our silly jokes. Meanwhile we were courteous, all smiling and were anxiously waiting for that reaction from him. Later in the evening, we waited for any oncoming punishments from my mother. None happened!. To this day, I am not sure whether he knew about the peppers in his lunch. Or was it a prank played on me by my siblings as I actually didn't see them doing it (I was the lookout, remember?). However, my uncle has continued his passion and has a small backyard garden of numerous varieties of chillies.
Over the years, my mother has reduced the heat in her recipes!
This is a simple chutney with 3 ingredients – chillies, shallots and coconut oil. Shallots and chillies acts as the base. Chillies also give the necessary kick in the recipe and coconut oil binds all together. The recipe works best with Thai chillies. But you can substitute with other varieties of indian Chillies as well. We usually serve it with Yucca root. This is my entry for JFI – Chillies hosted by nandita@saffrontrail this month.
5 – 6 Thai pepper (Kanthari Mulagu)
4 whole peeled shallots
sea salt to taste
What to do:
In a food processor, combine peppers, shallots and salt and pulse it 2 -3 times. Drizzle coconut oil and continue processing until finely minced. Serve with boiled yucca root or dosas.
Recipe Note: The coconut oil is a key ingredient in this recipe. Do not substitute.