The aroma of flavorful spices, the color, the texture, call out your name ... you hesitate but still reach out for some.
The first thing you briefly experience on the tip of the tongue with a smile is the explosion of flavors and the sweetness from the brown sugar.
Then 'bam' the ghosts heat you bringing an instant uplifting - eliciting a gasp and the first facial expression.
Just when you thought 'wow', the reaper kicks in 'bam bam' elevating things by 2 million Scovilles, you gasp, panting, make baby sounds as your color changes.
Then you notice the scorpions and realize they have been present since the beginning, slowly stinging one taste bud at a time, spreading, taking over your tongue, your mouth, your body.
You moan, sweating, with no resistance left in you ... reach out for more.
Step 1: It's a Girl, They Are Girls
They were little babies when I first set my eyes on them, shipped in plastic baggies inside tiny cups.
Two of each, the Carolina Reapers, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpions and the Bhut Jolokia(ghost peppers). The ghosts are natives of Northern India and the seventh hottest peppers in the world (2018). The Trinidad Moruga scorpions are natives of Trinard and are the second hottest peppers. The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper and is a crossbreed from the USA - designed without good intentions.
Step 2: Organic?
I transplanted them into cups and then into net pots as they become bigger, stronger and they seemed to like it
The roots demanded more space with each passing week. Which is good as they were only watered with bacterial compost tea. The microorganisms make symbiotic relationships with the plant's roots.to make food for the plants on demand. No fertilizers or pesticides were added - only microbes,
I am not sure about getting organic certification growing in a fabrication lab in Downtown SF.
Step 3: A Spicy Lab
Labs can be depressing as they lack biodiversity.
An organic healthy fresh produce in my lab softens the imposing hard cold concrete steel make long hours more natural
Step 4: A Smart Garden
Honestly, just like I need my phone for physical directions, these plants would never find their way to my plate without the same technologies.
Data also gives me insights into the plant behaviour I would not normally observe, similar to how a telescope reveals that some brighter stars are actually planets with multiple moons around them.
This indoor garden was way too fun to not visualize digitally. So we added sensors and a microcomputer to monitor was happening in the plant root zones as well as it's environmental conditions.
The images show capacitive soil moisture sensors on the cups and pots as the plants grow. The microcomputer is in the card box enclosure with the green Led lights. Using this I get reminders when the plants need attention or I can run them autonomously when I am not around, The data from the plants is sent to the Internet for analysis, remote control and alerting - I get garden alerts using twitter. I will write more about this soon. Here is an earlier Instructables I wrote on smart aquaponics.
Step 5: Many More Leaves
And the plants demanded more space and they reminded you with their scent each day.
Step 6: First Flowers, First Harvest, First Recipe
I am not sure what this pepper was, but I see a small stinger. I was so anxious to try it. I baked a microwave potato in the office, grabbed a can of tuna, sprinkled some salt and chopped up the baby chilli into the bowl without even de-seeding.
The rest was torture.
That is not how you eat anything with a stinger.
Step 7: The Flowers and the Bee
The flowers required forced pollination and it was too much work transferring pollen between flowers with a cotton swab - considering all the tasks waiting to be done in the lab.
So the girls went outdoors to my urban farm where there is more biodiversity.
The flowers and the bee liked one another rewarding us with a bountiful harvest.
Step 8: Hunter-Gatherer Recipes
Hunter-gatherer recipes have no rules.
Traditionally you cook with what you forage. In modern times you use what you have in your kitchen especially when it comes to spices.
The ingredients or the amounts don't really matter, the pictures and steps are for demonstration, the peppers will guide you.
My wishlist for dry spices and other ingredients
For fresh spices and vegetables
You will also need
- Cooking oil
- Brown sugar
Step 9: Cooking Oil
I made this recipe at a friend's house, this is what I gathered in their kitchen while foraging in the pantry.
- Olive oil (or any kind of cooking oil)
Step 10: Dry Spices
- Whole cloves
- Whole cinnamon
- A bunch of mixed spices in sachets
- Brown Sugar
Step 11: Fresh Ingredients
- Peppers (Mixture of reapers, scorpions and ghosts)
- Onion (I like red onions)
- Cilantro (It is not in the picture)
Step 12: Cutting, Chopping
The fresh spices, in this case
- dice the onions
- mince or chop the ginger
- mince or chop the ginger
- chop up the cilantro if you have some.
I prefer to chop into things int tiny pieces as compared to mincing as I like the texture of produce
Step 13: Tomatoes
The canned tomato is a shame, still, it's the kind of things you gather in urban environments
- Diced tomato
- Tomato puree (or really any tomato base such as pasta sauce seems to work great)
- I am embarrassed about the can of tomato soup, still, it's the kind of things you gather in urban environments
Step 14: Deseeding
Deseed and mince the pepper plants. I did not measure, I used what I had in the baggie about a big large cupful.
Be respectful when handling these pepper species.
Dust-free gloves and a well-ventilated kitchen will help.
Step 15: Frying the Dry Spices
- Heat the pan
- Heat the oil
- Add and fry your whole spices and all dry spices
- This is where I play with colors for my final product, paprika for redder and turmeric for yellower
- It is also where I play with aromas, somehow I always feel food needs more cloves and more salt.
- I tell it's working if I am sneezing when I am not next to the pot (yes, I contain my sneeze)
Step 16: Sauting Fresh Spices
- Add the onions
- Add the ginger garlic mixture
- Mix around some
- Cilantro is a good one to throw in now.
- I tell I doing something right when people in the other rooms are coming to ask what am I cooking at this stage
- Saute until the onion is soft (or crunchy if this is how you like it)
- This is a good time to taste for salt
- I am not sure, but this sounds like a good time to add the sugar, I think it caramelizes well at this stage before anything with liquid is added
Step 17: Basing
- Add the tomatoes
- Cook while stirring until they break down.
- There is nothing wrong with helping they break will stirring
- Covering with a lid in between mixing also helps
- After they are broken down, add the tomato base(puree, paster sauce, etc) but build upon the base if you want.
Step 18: Value Adding
- You don't have to use the gloves but beware of your own hands.
- I broke into a sweat while blending the peppers into a puree
- Make sure you have good ventilation
- Add the chopped peppers into the base which was already yummy enough for coconut rice
- Stir until it mixes in
- Simmer down over low heat until you are happy.
Step 19: Fire in the Hole
- Let it cool
- You don't want to eat all that, keep the smaller container and share the rest
- I like the texture of the onions, whole spices, ginger and tomatoes.
- Blend to a smooth consistency if this is how you prefer your chilli sauce
Step 20: One Thousand and One Suns
- A little goes a long way
- Yummy with coconut rice and pinto bean curry.
- The coconut mellows things down
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice
- The smaller spoonful at the bottom left of the plate is the pepper sauce
- Of course, when the reapers, scorpions and ghosts look like the main meal, you have to be careful where you put your spoon. But have no fears, rest assured, you will be reminded instantly if you miss-spoon.
- I recommend ice cream for dessert.
Enjoy a thousand and one suns in your mouth