Habanero chillies, or habanero chiles, are known for their eye-watering heat, and fruity-citrus notes. They are the hottest chilli grown in Latin America – and habaneros are also the oldest cultivated plant in the Americas, dating back 9,000 years. The small, lantern-shaped habanero comes from the same family as scotch bonnets. Both have thin, waxy flesh, and rank high up on the Scoville Scale of chilli heat. So it’s recommended you wear gloves when preparing habaneros – and never touch your face or eyes!
It’s unusual to come across whole dried habanero chillies – by keeping the whole chilli intact, these habaneros can be used to infuse sauces and stews, while habanero powder or flakes will dissolve.
Rehydrate the whole dried habanero chilli until it is soft, and then chop into slivers, or blend into a sauce before cooking. Start with a quarter of the chilli first, and keep adding – it’s far easier to add extra heat than to try and dilute excess heat! Habanero chillies are perfect for a chilli con carne, spicy ceviche, meat stew, chutney – and even for heating in oils to infuse them.
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