- Hot Pepper ‘Garden Salsa’
- Kung Pao Pepper: Putting POW In Pao
- Versatile, with very eatable heat…
- How hot is Kung Pao pepper?
- What do these chilies look like?
- What does Kung Pao pepper taste like?
- How do you use this pepper?
- Where can you buy Kung Pao pepper?
- Products from Amazon.com
- Chili Peppers—Hot, Hotter, Hottest
- Cajun Belle Pepper: A Bolder Sweet
- A mini-bell with jalapeño-like heat…
- How hot is the Cajun Belle pepper?
- What does the Cajun Belle pepper look like and taste like?
- How can you use this chili?
- Where can you buy Cajun Belles?
- Cajun Belle Pepper
Hot Pepper ‘Garden Salsa’
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Mild (1 to 1,000 Scoville Units)
Moderate (1,000 to 5,000 Scoville Units)
Large (more than 6″ in length)
Green changing to red
Unknown – Tell us
Fresh (salsa, salads)
Unknown – Tell us
Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed
Days to Maturity:
Mid (69-80 days)
Unknown – Tell us
Unknown – Tell us
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Where to Grow:
Can be grown as an annual
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Bark River, Michigan
Elmira, New York
North Bend, Oregon
Kung Pao Pepper: Putting POW In Pao
Versatile, with very eatable heat…
Scoville heat units (SHU): 7,000 – 12,000
Jalapeño reference point: Equal to 5 time hotter
Products and seeds: Kung Pao pepper on Amazon
If you’ve ever dined at (or ordered from) a Chinese restaurant, you’ve likely seen on the menu a few dishes labeled “Kung Pao”. Let’s set things straight out the gate – these dishes aren’t named for this chili. Kung Pao pepper is a recent hybrid chili, and Kung Pao dishes have been around for generations. But Kung Pao pepper does taste great in this dish – and it’s perfect for using in Asian, Thai, and Sichuan cuisine – as it’s an excellent less spicy alternative to Thai peppers and cayenne.
How hot is Kung Pao pepper?
They are a very eatable medium heat, with a Scoville heat range from 7,000 to 12,000 Scoville heat units. To compare to our jalapeño reference point, that’s about equal heat with the potential for about five times hotter, if you’re comparing the mildest jalapeño to the hottest possible Kung Pao.
But, perhaps more importantly, the Kung Pao hybrid is light years milder than the peppers it often replaces in dishes. Cayenne ranges at the top end of medium chilies (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) and Thai chilies are no-doubt hot peppers with their 50,000 to 100,000 SHU range. For those that like a little spice, it’s an excellent alternative to them both – but of course it’s also much harder to find.
What do these chilies look like?
It looks very much like a cayenne pepper, long and slim. The pepper grows to four or five inches in length, and it matures from green to a vibrant red hue. Kung Pao chilies also have very thin walls, making them excellent for drying.
What does Kung Pao pepper taste like?
Again like cayenne and Thai peppers, there’s a tasty, but subtle earthy and peppery flavor to these chilies. The heat is really the defining quality of the taste, and that’s not a bad thing. Kung Pao peppers, like traditional Sichuan chilies, add heat to dishes that are often already quite savory. The pepper’s flavor doesn’t get in the way of the dish, but it does add a fiery kick and a beautiful splash of color.
How do you use this pepper?
Really anywhere you’d use Thai chilies, the Kung Pao pepper is a viable option. They are, of course, perfect for Kung Pao Chicken and other Chinese dishes. Sichuan and Thai cuisine, too, fit this chili very well. Really any stir-fry can be made just a little spicier with the addition of Kung Pao. Just slice them up, seeds intact, and fry them with the other vegetables.
With their thin walls, these chilies dry well, too, making them perfect for preserving for extended periods or crushing into chili powder and flakes. Overall – like the cayenne – the Kung Pao is a very versatile chili that can be used in a lot of ways.
Where can you buy Kung Pao pepper?
And here’s the big difference between this hybrid chili and the likes of Thai and cayenne pepper: They aren’t as easy to find. You typically won’t find these chilies on store shelves. Your best bet is farmer’s markets or grow them yourself. Kung Pao pepper seeds are easy to buy online, and you may find them, too, at a well-stocked gardening center.
The Kung Pao is really the cayenne and Thai alternative for those that don’t prefer the heat that cayenne and Thai peppers bring. If you’re searching for a versatile chili to grow with very eatable heat, it’s an excellent choice for your garden. And if you stumble across them at a farmer’s market, give them a go in your next stir-fry.
Products from Amazon.com
- Price: Check on Amazon
Kung pao sauce is one of the popular home style stir fry sauces in Szechuan cuisine. Making perfect kung pao sauce at home is simple but not an easy task. This is elaine’s detailed guide about how to prepare a kung pao sauce and apply it on your preferred vegetables and ingredients.
Kung pao sauce has two layers of flavor, one is from spices and the other one is from a balance via soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Firstly, we fry garlic, ginger and scallion with dried red pepper. This taste is called as “胡辣味”，which means fried chili pepper taste. To get this unique taste, the dried chili pepper should be fried until dark red. Some restaurants add un-fried red chili pepper to add some red color but they cannot bring the right flavor.
The second layer is a balanced sauce made from sugar, vinegar and soy sauce with starch. Starch works as a thickener and help the sauce sticking to the ingredient.
Important ingredients introductions
Leek onion (大葱) is a popular aromatic ingredient for lots of Chinese stir fries and soups. Comparing with green onion, leek onion provides a stronger flavor. We usually use the white part and discard the very green part and then cut them into sections around 1.5 cm in thickness. I love to keep half of the leek onion sections to the last step and fry them with chili pepper and Szechuan peppercorn.
Szechuan pepper and dried chili pepper : Szechuan peppercorn (花椒) and dried red chili pepper are the two soul ingredients for this dish. It should be a slightly numbing with a gentle touch of hotness. We have three types of dried red pepper used in Sichuan cuisine, but the most popular choice for Kung pao chicken is that small and thin pepper.
The mischievous factor of this sauce is the amount of sugar. I usually add more sugar with protein dishes but use only use half of the sugar in vegetable kong pao dishes like cauliflower, lotus root and mushrooms. Because vegetables and mushrooms have nature sweetness.
Recommended Recipes using this Kung Pao Sauce
- Vegan Kung Pao Tofu
- Authentic Kung Pao Chicken
- Kung Pao Cauliflower
- Kung Pao Lotus Root
- Kung Pao Mushroom
- Kung Pao Shrimp (Kung Pao Prawn)
Kung Pao Sauce Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 3 mins Total Time 13 mins detailed guideline about how to prepare a well balanced kung pao sauce Course: sauce Cuisine: Sichuan Keyword: Kung Pao Author: Elaine Ingredients
- 3 tbsp. cooking oil
- 6-9 dried chili pepper
- 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn
- 1 thumb ginger , minced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 leek onion , white part only
- ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 inch ginger grated
- 1 tbsp. chopped green onion
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Cut the white part of leek onion into small circles, around 1cm in thickness.
- Heat wok or pan until hot firstly and then pour in oil. Then add Sichuan pepeprcorn in and fry until aroma. If necessary, remove the Sichuan peppercorn and let the oil cool down for 1 minute.
- Place dried red pepper sections, keep small fire and heat until slightly dark red. Then add garlic, ginger and green onion, fry for 20- 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Then fry any pre-prepared raw ingredients.
- Turn up the fire and stir in stir fry sauce. Fry until the ingredients are well coated.
Chili Peppers—Hot, Hotter, Hottest
This week’s gardening guest blogger is Karen Newcomb, a Rocklin, California resident who has contributed to and co-written nine gardening books with her late husband, Duane. She is a lifetime vegetable gardener, an avid writer and has been a writing teacher for more than twenty years. Her web site www.postagestampvegetablegardening.com is more than just garden information, it also includes tons of vegetable varieties and where to get the seeds.
I admit I love the way chili peppers look growing on the plant. On the other hand, some of these chilis are not for the faint of heart, but true chili aficionados swear by them. Some varieties ring in at 1,000,000 Scoville units, some much less hot. Some are fire engine red and make great ristas or wreaths to hang in the kitchen. When dried these chilies can be crushed into pepper flakes to spice up sauces, pizzas, soups and more.
What is a Scoville unit? In 1902, pharmacologist Wilber Scoville mixed ground chili in sugar, alcohol and water and taste tested the heat content, rating them from 0 to, at that time, 200,000 on the “Scoville scale.” Today computerized technology rate peppers from 0 to 10. Although Scoville units are the preferred reference.
The heat in chiles (hot) peppers is concentrated in the veins and also in the seeds. Use caution when working with chili peppers because they contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes. If your skin is sensitive, wear thin rubber gloves. If you bite into a chili and regret it, drink a glass of milk.
As a general rule, the smaller the pepper the hotter because smaller chilies have a higher proportion of seeds and ribs. I don’t find that to be particularly true, since “Habanero” for instance, one of the hottest, is not the smallest.
Here are some of the flame throwers of the chili world. I’ll start with some mild varieties, working up to the real heat makers. Seed sources listed below.
Chilies 100 to 1750 Scoville Units
Ancho San Martin (pictured at left) 75 days. Hybrid. 500 t0 1,000 Scoville units. This is a mild poblano chile rellano type. Can be grown almost anywhere. Called “Ancho” when dried. Dark green, 5 ½” long peppers are a favorite for roasting. One of the mildest chilies. Source: TOT
Biggie Chili™ 68 days. Hybrid. 500 Scoville Units. Plant has heavy leaf canopy that protects fruits from sunscald. Impressive thick walled peppers up to 9” long. Light green fruits mature to a bright red if left on the vine. Great for roasting or slicing. Source: THE TOT
Cajun Belle (pictured at right) 60 days. Hybrid. 100-1,000 Scoville units. All American Selection winner. Mildly hot, but sweet pepper that is adapted to traditional gardening and to container gardens. This pepper looks like a small bell pepper, 2 “ wide and 3” long with 3 or 4 lobes. The fruit will ripen from green to scarlet when to a deep red if left on the plant. Source: JOHN PAR TOT
Sweet Heat 56 days. Hybrid. 329 Scoville units. This pepper has a mild, spicy flavor with smoky undertones. Look much like bell peppers, 3-4” long by 1-1 ½” wide. Perfect choice for grilling and salsa. Can be eaten at the green or red stage. Compact plants are bushy. 65% higher vitamin C than average peppers. Source: BURP STO TOT
Zavory 90 days. 100 Scoville Units. Hybrid. Shiny 2-3” red peppers appear in large numbers in late summer. Branching 30” tall plants. Source: BURP COO THE
Chilies 2000 to 10,000 Scoville Units
Balada (Kung Pao) (pictured at left) 85 days. Hybrid. 10,000 Scoville Units. This is an Oriental hot pepper with thin walls that dry quickly to seal in flavor and heat. Big, 30” plants with 4 ½” long peppers that mature from green to red with no loss of taste. Source: THE TOT
Cherezo Cherry 65-75 days. Hybrid. 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units. A hot little Italian import grows up to 2’ tall with an abundance of round, uniform, 1 ½” peppers with thick walls. Maturing from green to brilliant red. Use fresh in salads, pickled, stuffed, or for antipastos. Source: JOHN
Devil Serrano (pictured at right) 73 days. Hybrid. 6,000 Scoville units. Dark green, finger-sized, glossy fruits. Semi-determinate plant uses less garden space. Source: TOT
Garden Salsa 73 days. Hybrid. 3,000 Scoville units. Peppers are 8” long and 1” across. Usually picked at green stage for salsa, but can be left on plant to turn red. These peppers get hotter in dry weather. Source: PAR THE TOT
Hot Daddy 62 days. Hybrid. 2,000 Scoville units. 12” long fruit at maturity, change from green to glowing golden-orange. Source: BURP
Jalisco Jalapeno 58-62 days. Hybrid. 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units. A mainstay in Mexican and Southwest cooking. Smooth, blunt, medium-walled 3” x 1” jalapenos. Medium green to red when left on plant. 3’ tall plants. The smoke dried Jalisco is known as chipotle and adds a rich, smoky flavor to meats, sauces and soups. Source: JOHN
Mio Grande 62 days. Hybrid. 4,000 to 6,000 Scoville units. Large 5” long hot pepper. Source: GOU
Volcano 60-70 days. Hybrid. 2,000 to 4,000 Scoville units. 4-6” long, glossy greenish-yellow that matures to red. Hungarian type. Excellent for pickling, roasting and fresh use. Source: THE TOT
Chilies 25,000 to 200,000 Scoville Units
Aji Limo (Lemon Drop) (OP) (pictured at left) 70-80 days. Heirloom. 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. Lemon-yellow pepper that grows ½” x 2” with thin walls and a tapered point. A rare Peruvian heirloom. Very productive 1’ tall plants. It’s strong heat is tempered with a smoother, citrus-spice flavor when cooked. Source: JOHN TOT
Chenzo 82-85 days. Hybrid. 45,000 Scoville units. Plants grow 22” tall and spread up to 20”. Peppers mature from black to bright red. Well suited to pots and containers. Source: TOT
Jamaican Hot Red (OP) 90-100 days. 100,000 to 200,000 Scoville units. Very compact plant with an abundance of thin skin peppers shaped like a lantern. Lots of flavor through the heat. Source: NES
Rey Pakai 84 days. Hybrid. 200,000 Scoville units. 2 ½ x 1 ½” Habanero type. Mature from green to red. Vigorous upright plants. Source: STO
Chilies 300,000 to 1,000,000 Plus Scoville Units
Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) (pictured at right) 100-120 days. Heirloom. In excess of 1,000,000 Scoville units. Plants exceed 4’ tall. These flame throwers are thin-walled, wrinkled, pointed and reach 2-3” in length. They ripen to mostly red. Source: BAK THE TER TOT
Caribbean Red Habanero (OP) 90 days. Heirloom. 445,000 Scoville units. This hot, hot, hot pepper comes from the Yucatan region. 30” tall plants. Source: THE
Chocolate Habanero Heirloom. 300,000 Scoville units. 2” long, chocolate-brown color, lantern shaped peppers. Source: BAK
You may or may not find any of these varieties in the supermarket. Growing chili in your own garden is your best choice. Peppers are easy to grow. If you can’t find these varieties as seedlings at your local nursery you can sow seeds in flats or containers filled with potting mix or a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite. Keep the soil temperature about 80° F if possible. When seeds germinate, move flats into bright light for about eight weeks. Plant outdoors when the soil has thoroughly warmed and the nighttime lows are expected to stay above 55° F. In cool climates plant through black plastic and cover with row covers. Keep soil evenly moist.
Fertilize every four weeks with fish emulsion or other organic fertilizer. Excess nitrogen produces a bushy plant with little fruit. Provide an even water supply and never let the plants droop. Space chili plants 18-24 inches apart.
Hot peppers should ripen on the vine to obtain full potency. Some old time gardeners swear that hot peppers and sulfur are bosom buddies. They put about half a teaspoon of garden sulfur in the bottom of the planting hole before setting out the transplants. Sulfur lowers the soil pH, which leads to an abundance of peppers.
Caution, when handling these peppers wear gloves. If you touch them with your hands, keep them away from your eyes and mouth. It helps to wash your hands with Fels Naptha, a heavy duty laundry bar soap to remove any chili oil.
Proceed with caution!
Pepper Seed Catalog Sources
BAK Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds rareseeds.com
BURP Burpee burpee.com
COO Cook’s Garden cooksgarden.com
GOU Gourmet Seed International gourmetseed.com
JOHN John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds kitchengardenseeds.com
KIT Kitazawa Seed Co. kitazawaseed.com
NES Neseed neseed.com
PAR Park Seed parkseed.com
SEED Seed Savers Exchange seedsavers.org
STO Stokes Seeds StokeSeeds.com
TER Territorial Seed company territorialseed.com
THE The Pepper Gal peppergal.com
TOT Totally Tomatoes totallytomatoes.com
For a complete listing of chili peppers and seed catalogs visit: www.postagestampvegetablegardening.com
© Copyright by Karen Newcomb
Cajun Belle Pepper: A Bolder Sweet
A mini-bell with jalapeño-like heat…
Cajun Belle pepper fast facts:
- Scoville heat units (SHU): 500 – 4,000 SHU
- Median heat: 2,250 SHU
- Origin: United States
- Capsicum species: Annuum
- Jalapeño reference scale: 5 times milder to equal heat
- Use: Culinary
- Size: Approximately 2 to 3 inches long, bell pepper shaped
- Flavor: Sweet
Normally sweet peppers are known for their delicious flavor, but not much to boast on the heat side of things, if anything at all. The Cajun Belle throws the normal playbook out the window. It has all the deliciousness of a sweet pepper, but with a heat that at minimum tickles the tongue and at its max provides a jalapeño-like punch. It’s a beauty in the garden, too, providing plenty of color, whether outdoors or in containers.
How hot is the Cajun Belle pepper?
There’s a pretty widespread of heat outcomes with the Cajun Belle, and a lot has to do with when they’re picked and eaten. Like with all hot peppers, the spiciness in this chili increases as the pepper ages on the vine, so a fully ripened red Cajun Belle will have much more heat than an unripened green one. This is critical since Cajun Belle’s are a type of bell pepper and are eaten, like other sweet peppers, throughout their maturation cycle (from green to red).
There’s also a dispute on the overall heat peak of this chili. While some say the Cajun Belle tops out at 1,000 Scoville heat units (poblano pepper level heat), many eaters experience a heat that’s more in line with our reference point, the jalapeño. We don’t see Cajun Belle’s reaching 8,000 SHU like a jalapeño can, but it certainly seems to be able to reach between 3,000 and 4,000 SHU which equals a mild or moderate heat jalapeño. Really, the Cajun Belle is often a mild chili, but it can cross over into the medium heat zone.
What does the Cajun Belle pepper look like and taste like?
It looks a lot like a mini bell pepper – two to three inches in length, with multiple lobes at the base. They age, too, following the common pepper color pattern – from green to a rich red hue.
The flavor behind the heat is much like a typical sweet pepper, fresh and sweet (and that sweetness increases with the time on the vine). The heat is layered atop this sweetness, and it creates a unique eating experience – part flavorful bell pepper, part jalapeño.
How can you use this chili?
Anywhere you can use bell pepper, a Cajun Belle can do the trick, with a little more pizazz. It’s a great salsa chili, especially with salsas that tend towards the sweeter side. The Cajun Belle is also useful as a stuffed pepper (though smaller than the typical bell), and its sweet heat is quite delicious paired with a simple salad. Try grilling them, too, for your summer BBQ. The sweet and spicy flavor is a great compliment to red meats.
Where can you buy Cajun Belles?
These chilies are growing in popularity, though they aren’t typically found at supermarkets. Check local chili farms to see if they are available. Or, if you garden, they are easy to grow yourself. Cajun Belle pepper seeds are widely available. If you’re looking for a bell pepper substitute that leans into spicy, this is a chili pepper you’ll want to grow.
Cajun Belle Pepper
True to its name, Cajun Belle pepper is an awesome pepper because it gives you all the flavor a of sweet pepper combined with a mild but spicy heat that adds zip to any dish. This 2010 All America winner is just plain cute, too. We love the way the little peppers ripen from lime green to orange to red. You can eat them at any stage, but the longer they stay on the plant, the warmer they get. Plants are robust and disease tolerant yet relatively small, growing about 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide. They’re ideal for small gardens or containers. Each fruit is 2 to 3 inches long, with 3 to 4 lobes to make a small, thin walled blocky miniature pepper. Allowed to remain on the plant to maturity, they turn glossy red and grow increasingly flavorful. Plants in our Alabama test garden (where the long harvest season lasts from May through October) easily yield more than 150 peppers each. Of course, yield in your garden will depend on care and the length of your warm growing season.
- Light: Full sun
- Fruit size: 2 to 3 inches long, lobed
- Matures: 60 days
- Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches
- Scoville heat units: 100 to 1,000 (mild)