After living in Mexico for about four years now, I’ve built up a somewhat decent tolerance to spicy foods. But this doesn’t just magically happen. Just like anything that you want to improve, it requires hard work and dedication. I can’t count how many tacos I’ve had to eat to tolerate that kind of spice…oh darn! But I can count how many habanero peppers I’ve eaten, one, only one.
I was invited to a friend’s birthday party where their whole family would be there. After we ate and munched on what they had prepared, the birthday girl decided she wanted to play Basta, similar to scategories, where you have to fill in as many previously decided categories as you can using words starting with the same letter. And just like any other Mexican game, there was a punishment for whoever lost.
This was a few years ago so at this point my Spanish still needed a little work. Needless to say, I lost and was waiting for my punishment. Someone decided that biting a habanero pepper would be a great punishment for this occasion, but since my Spanish was pretty rusty, I didn’t entirely understand and bit off the WHOLE habanero pepper.
My face went red. I started sweating. I started crying. I honestly thought I would have to go to the hospital because my insides were burning so much. It felt like a hole was burning in my stomach! I drank water, beer, milk; anything to get that burning under control. After about 15 minutes I was back under control, no sweating, no eyes watering, and was reassured that no hospital was necessary. WOW!
Now I can’t say that my spice tolerance is completely due to this little habanero. But I can say that one habanero is all I need to help improve my Spanish!
That being said, be careful how much heat you add to today’s recipe. To continue with the stream of green recipes I present to you Veggie Enchiladas with Salsa Verde. Typically enchiladas are rolled up tortillas either stuffed with beef or chicken, but in an effort to try and get a little more veg into my day, I’ve switched out the meat and instead added a mix of sauteed corn, onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper. If you can’t handle much heat, no problem! Poblano peppers are not spicy but they do add a good smoky flavor to the mix.
As for the salsa, I personally enjoy a little heat so I just chop off half a jalapeno and add the whole thing, seeds and all, to add a little spice that is not overpowering.
- 1-2 lbs tomatillos (husked and rinsed)
- 1/4 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 handful cilantro
- 1 jalapeno
- salt to taste
- bullion cube (optional)
- 1 can corn
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1/2 onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- Place tomatillos in a large pot. Cover with water and boil until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, julian (or cut lengthwise) onion, bell pepper, and poblano pepper, garlic and sautee on high heat until softened.
- Once veggies have softened add corn and let cook for another few minutes.
- By now tomatillos should be about ready. Drain water and add tomatillos to a blender and blend until smooth. Add onion, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and salt and blend again until smooth.
- Transfer salsa back to pot. Add salt to taste and bullion cube if using. Depending on the size, I normally use half. Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
- Now lets get stuffing! Add sauteed veggie mix to tortillas, roll them up and smother with salsa verde. Garnish with thinly sliced onion and cilantro.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think? Could you handle the heat of a whole jalapeno?