This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange, green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique, distinctively fruity flavor. It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground Szechwan pepper
- 1 pinch asafoetida powder
- 1-3 jalapeño chili, deseeded, chopped (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 8 cups chicken stock
- ½ lb skinless/boneless chicken thighs
- 300 g rice noodles
- 1 large carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped cilantro, to serve
- Nepali chili sauce, to serve (recipe below)
- To make the spice paste, combine all the ingredients, except the tomatoes, in a blender or food processor and process until minced. Then add the tomatoes and process again until combined into a rough paste.
- Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until quite aromatic and the paste becomes soft.
- Carefully pour in the chicken stock (it may sizzle at first) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chicken thighs and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the stock and roughly shred.
- Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to boil. Add rice noodles and cook for 2 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again and set aside.
- Add the carrot, bell pepper, and mung bean sprouts to the soup and simmer for 2–3 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender.
- Add lemon juice and season to taste – adding more salt or pepper as necessary.
- Divide the noodles between bowls (for pretty presentation, mound the noodles all on one side of the bowl) and top with the shredded chicken. Ladle the stock and vegetables over the noodles and top with chopped cilantro. Serve with chili sauce.
* Asafoetida and Szechwan pepper can generally both be found in spice stores online as well as local Indian markets. The traditional pepper used in Nepali Thukpa (timur) is currently unavailable in the United States, but Szechwan pepper provides a similar tongue tingling spice. Traditionally, it is served with a vinegary chili sauce. Here is the one we made and used:
Garlicky Red Chili Hot Sauce (pictured above with the ingredients for Thukpa)
Yield: 2 cups (aka: enough to last you a very, very, very long time)
Recipe by Melissa Clark printed in the NYTimes 8/25/10
- 4 hot red or orange chili peppers, such as habañero
- 2 red bell peppers (3/4 pound), roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Wearing rubber or latex gloves, roughly chop the chilies. Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. Once mixture is simmering, reduce heat to low, cover and continue to simmer until peppers are tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Do not inhale vapors; they will sting.
- Transfer mixture to a blender and purée. Pour into a medium jar and allow to cool uncovered. Cover tightly and refrigerate for three days. Keep stored in refrigerator; sauce will last for several weeks or months.