Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Cascabel Chile

It's been a while since I last talked about chiles (and about mmm 3 hours since I last ate some), so today it's the turn of a rather overlooked chile, which is a shame, as it's really lovely, the Cascabel.

Cascabel means "Little bell", rather appropriately, as it is a small (2-3cm in diameter) cherry shaped chile. When dried the loose seeds in the chile rattle when its shaken, hence it's other common name of Rattle chile. Another name is chile bola (ball chile). When fresh, cascabel comes in red or green, though when dried it is a dark red/brown colour.

It's flavour is woody & acidic, with a bit of tannin in there too. It's spicey, but not hot, somewhere along the lines of Jalapeno or Guajillo chiles.

What can you do with it? As with the other chiles I've mentioned, you can deseed & remove the stem, toast briefly in a dry frying pan & soak in hot water until soft, then drain & blitz in a blender or food processor with a bottle of passata or a can or two of tomatoes to make a sauce for enchiladas, chilli or lasagna. Or chuck in a blender with a can of chickpeas, a couple of cloves of garlic & the juice of a lime for a tangy houmous. Or you can chop & fry them with onions & garlic, add a cup of rice & 2 cups of vegetable stock & simmer until the rice is done (stirring in a can of black beans & some sweetcorn at the end of cooking) for spicy rice.
Om Nom Nom!

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