These are slow and impatient times. I am back from Mexico loaded with tons of inspiration and flavours from the Mexican cuisine but with everything that is happening around the world at the moment, it is safe to say that it will probably take some time to get our samples from Mexico back home. The great anticlimax of a spice importer perhaps, this dreadful act of waiting for what has been happily sourced!
So, is there a product that is madding me more than others with its absence? Among a big bunch of killer ingredients, I would probably say the chile pequin. Around only two centimetres long, these small cuties pack a respectable punch of heat and when in Mexico I carried them with me in my pockets like bags of M&Ms, munching on these tangy delights because I just couldn't get enough of them. It is a pepper that is smokey, yet nutty and citrusy fresh and it brings about an intense fieriness that goes perfect with the rustic and hearty flavours of Mexican food. Although found all over Mexico today, it has its origin in the state of Tabasco and it is a key component of this small region’s local cuisine. And although the chile pequin may sound as an exotic novelty for many ears, some may possibly have tried it without knowing. It is together with chile de árbol the main ingredient of big brand hot sauce Cholula, although it is so diluted among the other ingredients that you won’t experience anywhere near the heat of a fresh chile pequin. In fact, Cholula is very mild and it does not come near the sensation of the real thing. And for this we wait. Impatiently.