Friday, September 16, 2011

Dragon's Breath Stir Fry - Another Ghost Pepper Recipe

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

I love Cub Foods on Broadway.  Admittedly, their selection of fresh fruits and peppers has diminished slightly this year (no starfuit, I haven't seen pomegranates in a while, and no lychees this year, not to mention a dearth of hot peppers).  But they have brought back the ghost pepper this fall.  A close comparison to what I cooked with last year shows some clear differences though.  Last year's peppers were advertised as "bhut jolokia," and the ghost peppers available this year are "naga jolokia."  The research I've done seems to indicate that these are essentially the same pepper.  The bhut pepper was grown in California while the naga is from Holland - both a far cry from the pepper's native area of India and Bangladesh.  If you have enough of a tolerance for hot peppers, both the bhut and naga jolokia have a smoky taste to them.  Remember - where there's smoke, there's fire.

Furthermore, I found that the Scoville scale, the most widely-accepted method to measure the spiciness of a pepper, is still somewhat disputed and there is no clear "hottest pepper in the world."  Several types, including the ghost pepper and the trinidad scorpion, lay claim to that title. And THEN my random neural firings led me to a non-sequitur...

Whose job is it to name all these peppers anyway?  Because obviously they have the same job when it comes to comic books, hot peppers, and United States covert military operations in Iraq.  So it's time for a little game with the Hawthorne Hawkman.

Is it a hot pepper, a comic book or a military operation?

1.  A.  Turk's Turban (pepper)
     B.  Manhunter (comic)
     C.  Blast Furnace  (military)

2.  A.  Meltdown (comic)
     B.  Smokewagon (military)
     C.  Hungarian Death (pepper)

3.  A.  Double Edge Omega (comic)
     B.  Infinity (pepper)
     C.  Devil Clinch (military)

4.  A.  Centaur Fast Gas (military)
     B.  Onslaught (comic)
     C.  Fatali (pepper)

5.  A.  Madame Jeanette (pepper)
     B.  Fear Itself (comic)
     C.  Wrath of God (military)

6.  A.  Viper (pepper)
     B.  Crimson Shogun (military)
     C.  Secret Invasion (comic)

7.  A.  Code Red (comic)
     B.  Red Chickenheart (pepper)
     C.  Airborne Dragon (military)

If by the end of that exercise, you realized that high-end hot peppers, comic book storylines, and US covert Iraqi missions all have interchangeable names, you're now ready for another ghost pepper recipe.

Dragon Breath Stir Fry

2.5 lbs. of beef steak
1 medium size bok choy
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbs ginger
2 naga jolokia peppers
3/4 cup cashews.
Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar to taste (but enough to make some sauce)
cilantro, basil to taste

Side dishes:
lo mein noodles

1 beans
4 tbs butter
juice from 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic
1 tb ginger


Cube the beef steak and dice the naga jolokia peppers, ribbed and seeded.  (Gloves are highly recommended for this.  In the absence of gloves, coat hands with cooking oil immediately before working with peppers, then wash hands with soap and water immediately afterward.)  Mix in herbs and seasonings.  Let sit while chopping bok choy.

If you're sensitive to hot peppers but trying this dish anyway, wash off the cutting board after dicing the naga jolokia.  I didn't do this, and the bok choy pulled off enough spice just from sitting on that surface for a bit that when I popped one in my mouth I was burning for five minutes.

Start beef and seasonings cooking, leaving bok choy out for the moment.  Snap edges off of green beans.  Add bok choy to beef, let simmer.  combine ingredients for green beans, and saute.  Beans and beef should be done at roughly the same time.

If you don't know how to follow directions on a box of lo mein noodles, what are you doing reading this blog?  Go get yelled at by Gordon Ramsey or something.

In the photo above, I set aside some fresh mint leaves as a garnish to cleanse the palate.  Fresh cucumbers accomplish almost the exact some result, but with less of an aftertaste.

And there you have it!  Another hawkman ghost pepper recipe.


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