West Indian Hot Peppers
All about the West Indian hot pepper that is an essential condiment widely used in West Indian cuisine. However, its primary use was not intended for cooking but rather for its medicinal virtues that the the peoples of South America had put forward. The West Indian pepper is above all native to the Amerindian culture notably from Mexico because of its proximity. Due to trading amongst cultures the hot pepper has diversified over the centuries and today has significant variations. Today, it is available in different varieties ranging from mild to strong. For example the Habanero pepper can be classified under a variety of peppers such as:
It is a fruit cultivated for its strong taste but also for its medicinal properties. Despite its small size, 2 cm wide and 3 cm in height the habanero, the pepper itself is extremely powerful, a single drop of its liquid onto your mouth can burn your lips. In the French Antilles and French Guiana it is called “bondamanjak” meaning the buttocks of Madame Jacques. It is considered to be one of the strongest peppers in the world on the Scoville scale which is the scale used to measure the intensity of taste. The Habanero pepper name varies depending on whether it is sweet or strong. It is especially used in cuisine to augment the natural flavor of what is being cooked. Bondamanjak is the main ingredient to accompany meats, fish, rice and vegetables. The red or green chili bird is a stronger variety than the cayenne pepper. If you are unfamiliar with eating hot peppers it is best to start off small to avoid being surprised by its power and subsequently having to drink milk or water in order to quell the burning sensation you may experience. The chili bird is traditionally used in the sausage rougail dish or for the purpose of making pepper oil. Being an integral part of the local culture it is important for you to familiarize yourself with these various peppers if you want to discover new flavors or benefit from the medicinal properties available. In Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana it is an everyday staple of local cuisine.