Fiancé Person and I are absolutely mad for chilli poppers (and crumbed mushrooms – but mostly chilli poppers). We order them every time we eat at Fat Cactus, then we wash them down with a few just of Frozen Moggyritas. Yum.
Anyway, we like poppers so much we’ve been keen to try them ourselves. The only problem was we had no idea where to find the jalapeno chillis. Everywhere I looked didn’t have them, but recently a friend pointed us in the direction of Pick n Pay at Long Beach Mall. So I popped by there on Saturday and bought all of them. Which, considering there were only three packets, wasn’t that big a deal.
Tonight I hit the kitchen and whipped up my first batch. I’ll apologise in advance. We tucked straight in and I only remembered the photo when there were just three of the “well done” ones left. Oops.
A little research online told me I’d need the jalapenos, cream cheese, another cheese (I just grabbed the little bit of Colchester that was left in the fridge, milk, eggs, flour, crumbs and oil.
Slice down the one side of each jalapeno, length wise, and carefully scoop out the seeds. I used the handle of a teaspoon. Now the other online popper makers were very excitable about not getting chilli juice in your eyes. That alone left me wanting to scratch my face, and it didn’t help that Fiancé Person sat in the lounge telling me he had an itchy nose and that if felt so good to scratch. Yes, the same Fiancé Person I was making poppers for. I’m pleased to announce I managed to make it all the way through without getting juice in any orifice.
Now mix the cream cheese and grated other cheese together. I added a touch of cayenne pepper to the mix. You know, just in case the poppers weren’t hot enough… Next up you have to stuff the chillis with the cheese. At first I tried with a teaspoon, but it was a rather messy affair. So I used an icing bag and piped the cheese into the chillis. So much neater and it meant that I didn’t end up with shoddily filled poppers.
Then you basically crumb them as you would anything else, like mushrooms, chicken breasts, small rodents*… Dip in egg and milk mix, dip in flour and set aside for a while to set. Then dip in egg again and into the crumbs. I like the Kellogg’s seasoned cornflake crumbs best and after a brief hiatus they’re back on the shelves.
Heat your oil and then fry them. I don’t deep fry anything – mainly because I don’t have a nice oil pot. But shallow frying works just as well so long as you turn them halfway. Some of my bigger poppers, which I fried last got a little too golden brown. But they still tasted ok.
Being my first attempt there are a few things I’ll do differently next time. I think I may mix some mozzarella in with the cream cheese to start with. That way the centres will be a little more stringy. Also I think I need to fry them when the oil is a little cooler so that the chillis themselves have a little time to cook and soften, tonight’s ones were a tad too far on the crunchy side.
But otherwise I think it was a great first try. Once I’ve mastered the crumbed version I’ll have a go at battered ones.
Now if only I had a jug of Frozen Moggyrita this would be a perfect evening.
* Oh relax, I would never. So put the phone down. Let the animal rights folks concentrate on saving the sea kittens instead.