Piping hot? Not that much
Malagueta with Tomato
When composing a board of cheese and charcuterie, or finalizing the preparation of sweet-and-sour meat dishes, this dark carmine, translucent jam is a must. It combines common ingredients into a spread that is unique in texture and flavor.
Tomato, onion, garlic, vinegar, Malagueta pepper, salt
Aged cheeses, smoked meat
We had already developed two pepper jams: Beak Pepper and Red Pepper. But pepper lovers know we are always looking for something stronger. Living in a country with such a diversity of varieties and not making use of the would be a waste of opportunities. So I decided to go for Malagueta, a type of pepper commonly mixed with tomatoes to prepare sauces in the Northeast Region of Brazil.
These sauces are what gave me the idea to use tomatoes as the base. Which prompted my friends to ask, What? Are you going to make tomato jam? And I said, yes, and I’m going to use onions and garlic as well. I wanted to make a sweet and gooey version of the old and familiar sauce. This was our first seasoned jam I created and, yes, it was way more spicy than previous ones.
For me, it was scorching hot and I would eat it only in small amounts. Months after feeling like I had created hot-as-hot-can-be, I had to change my mind. I met an Indian guy and offered him my most fiery flavor which he delightedly ate: like it was dessert without sweating not even a drop!
Tomatoes are among the most consumed plant species in the world. They are native to South America, most specifically, the Andean countries, and became popular after Spaniards took them to Europe. But there was initial resistance to them given their relation to plants with psychoactive properties such as nightshades. In Brazil, they are widely grown and used with and as salads, and in the preparation of sauces to go on pizza or to pair with pasta and with meat.
The origin of the Malagueta pepper is not known, Or rather it is better to say it is not clear if it originated in northeastern South America or West Africa. It is widely used in Brazilian cuisine, especially in the state of Bahia where locals prepare their delicacies and ask if customers prefer them hot or cold. Unsuspecting and thinking they are being questioned about food temperature (in Celsius or Fahrenheit degrees), tourists answer ‘hot’ and that’s how they are introduced to a pepper with 50,000 to 100,000 points on the Scoville Scale.