Monday, August 15, 2011

Beer-Battered Habanero Poppers

 For the poppers:

White flour
Dark beer (I used Arrogant Bastard)
Chipotle powder  
grated Jack cheese (habanero jack, if you can find it!)
a few strips of bacon
A couple of green onions, chopped
As many habaneros as you think you want/can handle
A lot of oil (your choice) for deep-frying

For the mango dipping sauce:

2 ripe mangos, peeled and seeded
1 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
Half a white onion
four cloves of garlic, expelled
1 T. fresh ginger, grated
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground mustard
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t. sea salt

1/2 t. cracked pepper
3-4 c. mayonaise

      It's happened to all of us. You're at a classless chicken wing joint with a group of rowdy guys when suddenly, that one guy, probably named Dwayne, challenges you to a jalapeno-popper eating contest. You know your extremophilic palate can handle the heat, so you happily agree to the challenge, feeling confident in your highly developed levels of pain tolerance. The poppers are ordered, and a few rounds of vain boasting and simian chest-thumping ensue. The waitress brings out the basket full of poppers, and you give Dwayne one last icy stare before the competition begins. Go! You and Dwayne both bite into a popper, and "SPLURT!" Boiling-hot cream cheese instantly devastates your tongue! No, no, no! This is the wrong kind of heat, it wasn't supposed to be like this! You know you can handle the mild kick of the jalapenos, but you reluctantly forfeit, unable to go on injuring your mouth like this. Dwayne, most likely from all the years of drinking and regurgitating moonshine, appears to have little reaction, quaffing the liquid magma with indifference.

    Well friends, jalapeno poppers have had their day, and it's time to introduce the new champion of cheese-filled peppers: the habanero popper. Far tastier and far more extreme than the jalapeno popper, the habanero popper will light you up and have you riverdancing on the table in no time! Not to mention we have here a fancy mango dipping sauce to accentuate the deep flavor of the poppers! So let's not waste any more time and let's get started.

    To make the mango dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients except for the mayo in a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Once it's been boiling for ten minutes or so, and the mangos are nice and soft, remove it from the heat and put it all into a blender. Yes, it will blend! Start adding the mayo bit by bit and just go until you get a nice consistency that you like. Does it taste good? Then it is good! Set that sauce aside and get ready for the main event!

    Get that bacon sizzling in a pan. Yay, bacon! While your bacon is cooking, go ahead and prep the peppers. Cut those habanero peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and the white ribs inside. Fill each half with the grated cheese and the chopped green onions. Be sure to lay the halves that fit together right next to each other so you don't end up with mismatched halves. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the open peppers if you like. When the bacon is nice and crispy, let it cool and then just crush it up with your hands and sprinkle it into each pepper half. Now you can reunite the cloven habaneros, just put those bad boys back together.

    The batter is stupidly easy. Just take some white flour and mix in a bunch of chipotle powder and a little salt and pepper. Then start pouring your beer of choice into it and stirring, mixing it until it has a pancake batter-like consistency. Now heat some oil in a small saucepan, enough to dunk the habaneros in. When the oil is nice and hot, it's time to fry! Just cover a habanero in your yummy beer batter, and carefully drop it in to the oil. If the oil is at a nice hot temp it should only take about 10 seconds to fry these guys right. Pull it out with some tongs. Set aside on a paper towel and repeat! Frying habaneros is surprisingly fun!

    Let 'em cool, then they're good to go. Dip one in that mango sauce and tell me it doesn't taste absolutely delicious on that first bite. Don't worry, the intense heat of the habanero will soon dominate all the flavor and will leave you trembling in teary-eyed ecstasy. I made these with my friend and fellow extremophile A.J, who was quoted as saying, "The first popper made me cry and want to bash my head into the wall, but the last two were absolute heaven." Forget about jalapeno poppers! Let's see if Dwayne can hang with a habanero popper eating contest!

                                         "Um, yeah. Those poppers were pretty hot."


  1. Wow!!! Sounds delish, and scarey. Love the funny recipe!