The way the UK public fell for spice, particularly chilli, is remarkable. I grew up in the late 60s and 70s (yes I know I don’t look that old, thanks for that) and like most kids I ate food at home of undoubted wholesomeness – few children round my way were fat – but also of undoubted dullness too.
When the first’curry houses’ began to enter our corner of suburbia they did gangbuster business, especially with the post pub crowd. Brits, mostly young men, ordered up curries so hot they made you’see through time’ (Lisa Simpson) while the waiters looked on in horrified fascination and pretended they didn’t mind being addressed as Gunga Din.
Now Indian food is one of the most popular on the ready made chilled shelf in supermarkets, and we have begun to explore chilis outside of simple Scoville rating.
Mexico is of course synonymous with chili and the ones they grow there display remarkable flavours. Gran Luchito take the Pasilla Oaxaca Chillies grown down south and smoke them which results in a smoky flavour, of course, but also brings out a subtle sweetness – and then the heat kicks in. Ay caramba!
They turn their smoked chillies into four products – a smoked chilli paste made with caramelised onions, balsamic vinegar and dark agave syrup, a honey paste, a mayo and a ketchup. All can be used in various ways – I myself like the mayo with french fries and the honey is fantastic painted over chicken wings or pork chops before grilling. The ketchup is also great with chips and even better in a big fat bacon sandwich made with, ideally, cheap white bread.
The possibilities are much wider though and Gran Luchito’s website is steaming with hot recipes to try. We road tested the Mexican Shepherds (Pastor) Pie and it was a fresh change from the usual rather blander version; smokily hot and moreish. Any sheep under the eye of a shepherd who’d eaten one of these, would need to move away a bit smartish.
If you’ve got a bit of hard on for heat with flavour, then Gran Luchito will bring satisfaction.