I’m originally from the UK and back home many of the world’s spiciest dishes are well known and much loved. Others might be less appreciated, but, either way, they have something in common – strong flavours that are not for the faint hearted. If you like spicy food, perhaps it is time to broaden your culinary horizons and try some new dishes. Whenever I travel I like to try the local cuisine; here are some of my highlights and a few that are still on my to do list!
Madras Curry Sauce
The southern Indian state of Chennai – formerly Madras – is famous for bold curry flavours. Madras sauce is used in a variety of curries, both vegetable and meat based (so a great option if you are vegetarian). However, the sauce most people from home will know is really a British invention dating back to colonial times. The traditional Madras sauce is made up from spices that have been toasted then added to yoghurt or coconut milk to give it creaminess. Expect to detect flavours that include tamarind, anise, ginger, curry leaves and chilli.
Mexico, in central America¸ has some of the best street food in the world. Chilli peppers, often mixed with tomatoes, is the basis for many Mexican dishes. Pozole is a less well known dish that spicy food lovers will enjoy. It is a soup made with meat, usually turkey or pork. It has a base that is made from maize to which chillies are added to bring out the strength of flavour. The spicy soup is said to date back to Aztec times and remains popular with Mexicans to this day.
Jamaican Curried Goat
Goat is a relatively tough meat but is full of flavour. In Jamaica it is cooked slowly to tenderise it and the traditional way is to curry it. The curry has a base of flavours that is drawn from ginger and garlic. To this, usually lime juice is added. The spiciness is delivered by scotch bonnet chillies which are some of the hottest around. They measure up to 300,000 on the Scoville scale, which is the measurement used to rate chilli heat.
Sichuan Hot Pot
Used extensively in Oriental cuisine, the Sichuan pepper is probably most associated with Szechuan province from where it gets its name. A much loved spicy dish from the region is hot pot. Raw pieces of vegetable and meat are thrown into a simmering sauce of high intensity. The boiling broth is usually served at the table at maximum temperature and is full of garlic, onion and, of course, Sichuan peppers. The chilli peppers used are strong but also have other distinctive qualities including the sensation, reported by many who have eaten them, of tingling or a slightly numbed feeling.Published in