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Dishes prepared with habaneros include a variety of cuisines including Mexican, Colombian, Caribbean, American and Cajun. The taste of the chile heightens the flavor of dips, sauces, salsas, jellies and jams, and is also a popular ingredient in marinades for seafood. Other dishes prepared with habaneros include chili, rice and chicken recipes.
Frequently paired with seafood, habaneros are used in shrimp, scallop and fish dishes. Recipes including the ingredient include roasted prawns, soft shell crabs, shrimp pad Thai, and seafood enchiladas. A popular dish, the main ingredients of shrimp pad Thai are flat rice noodles, shrimp, eggs, habanero pepper, bean sprouts, peanuts and lime. A Jamaican jerk seasoning commonly used for poultry, fish and pork includes the spice of habaneros.
Some popular recipes include sliced or roasted habaneros, while others include only the juice. Most surprising are dessert recipes that include habaneros. The hotness of the chile is complimentary to fruit flavors such as mango, lime and orange. Chocolate is also soothing to the heat of a chile. To cool the burn, drink dairy products rather than water; milk, sour cream and cream cheese are all effective.
Many chili recipes that feature habaneros also include sausage, chorizo and beef. A chicken stew recipe incorporates the habanero with peanuts and peanut butter. Habaneros are also complementary to dishes of black beans, rice, potatoes or hummus.
The habanero has a distinct, almost fruity, flavor and is small, lantern-shaped and grown in the Caribbean, the Yucatan and South America. It ranges in color from light green to bright orange. The heat of the habanero is measured in Scoville units, a degree used to assess the amount of capsaicin in the average pepper. The Scoville scale rates the habanero hovers between 100,000 and 350,000 units, which makes it approximately fifty times hotter than a jalapeno.
If you like the flavor of a chile, but not the burn, it is recommended that you use the rinsed chile, minus the stems, ribs, and seeds. Care should be taken when cooking with chiles. Use gloves or frequent hand washing to lessen the chance of getting the oils spread to eyes or other sensitive areas.
I had a mango habanero salsa that was really good, but in general, habaneros are just too hot for me, unless they've been rinsed and completely de-seeded.
I like spicy food, but not so spicy that it makes the outside of my mouth burn, which habaneros tend to do. I love good salsa, though, and a fruity one is a good thing.
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