Experience the spiritual sweat of the glorious chilli pepper
Awaken. Tingle. Burn. Pant. Jiggle. Sweat. Exhale. Wave your hand pointlessly in front of your face. Make wide-eyed contact with the person sitting opposite you. Share the thought: “FUCK, that’s hot!”
Eating chilli is like nothing else.
Imagine there’s a chocolate cake in front of you. Picture it. Really picture it. Mine is huge, like the one in Matilda, which only the Trunchbull was allowed to eat. Huge and firm and sweet and cold on the tongue. Magnificent in fact. It tastes delicious. But eating it does not change me. It makes me go “mmmm” – yes. But it doesn’t make my body respond much beyond that. I eat it and I’m done.
Chilli is different. It makes you sweat. It makes you blush. It makes you—no—forces you to pay attention to the moment. You cannot eat chilli and be thinking about some other shit. You cannot. Chilli carries the grain—I would even be so pompous as to say the quiddity— of mindfulness within it.
Chilli is of the moment and in the moment. It has a transformational effect on your body, and your mind, and yes, bichrist, your SPIRIT. When you eat something that hot and the burn begins, other stuff just…recedes. Eating chilli pushes away the irrelevant, the unimportant, the past and the future. It keeps you there; centred, profoundly aware of your own existence and your own body in that moment. It is a perfect reminder that you are alive.
There are reams of literature about the transformational effects of every drug you can think of, and, caffeine aside, I have never tried any of them. But guess what? Chilli belongs there. Yes it does. Have some tonight. Pop it with friends. Gaze into the eyes of someone else. Devour some chicken with scotch bonnets and tell me you don’t feel closer together afterwards.
Especially if you share a loo the next day.
DANIEL’S INTENSE CHILLI AND LEMON MEATBALLS
Ingredients (makes enough for 4 people)
– 24 small meatballs (Small! Bigger than a grape but smaller than a golfball). Shop-bought meatballs are fine. If you want to make your own I recommend a beef/pork mix.
– 12 juicy lemons. This is not a typo. TWELVE.
– 4 scotch bonnet chillies. Make ‘em fat and firm. Like my ASS, yo.
– Ground black pepper. Nuff a dem.
– Soya sauce – use Pearl River Bridge. Shit is UNCTUOUS.
– 1 bulb of garlic.
– Olive oil.
– Juice the HELL out of those lemons. All of them. No seeds.
– Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
– Mince the scotch bonnets. Chuck the seeds away if that kind of things bothers you.
(N.B. Do NOT cut up raw scotch bonnets with your bare hands and then scratch your eyelid/nutsuck/lady garden. The resulting pain is NOT spiritual, it is merely incapacitating.)
– Grind up ya black pepper dem.
1. Here we go!
2. Chuck a bit of olive oil in your le creuset or a deep pan (you’ll need a deep one). Heat that gold.
3. Now pop in the meatballs and whizz them around a bit so they brown up some. Once they are basically cooked (cut one in half to check), you’re ready for stage 4.
4. Welcome to stage 4! Add the minced up scotch bonnets and the chopped garlic. Grind in some black pepper at this stage. Keep stirring and let things sizzle for a minute or two.
5. In goes the lemon juice! Move everything around a bit so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. 6. Your lemon juice should half cover all the meatballs – you basically want to stew them in the liquid.
7. Cover, and let things simmer and reduce for a bit. Then add a few dashes of soya sauce. This should change the colour to a spectacular dark orangey-brown.
Reduce some more.
Best served with white rice, cornichons and broccoli.
Words: Daniel Mokades – occasional writer and DJ. He loves chilli. In case you hadn’t noticed. This week he learned the word “tracklement”, which is a bloody good word.