I absolutely love the smoky flavor of chipotle chile’s! Did you know chipotle chili is a large jalapeño chile that is dried and then smoked. The name is derived from the Nahuatl (group of peoples native to southern Mexico and Central America, including the Aztecs.) word chilpoctli, which means smoked chili pepper.
Chipotle’s are primarily cultivated in Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Southern New Mexico and Southern Texas. Farmers pick green jalapeños for markets and leave some chile’s to naturally ripen while still on the wine, they are harvested once they attain a deep red color and have lost most of its moisture. The red-dry jalapeños are then moved to a sealed smoking chamber, spread out on metal grills and allowed to dry with very low heat and wood smoke. This process takes several days until all the moisture is removed.
I can’t be grateful enough to have grown up in a country where the knowledge of ‘exotic’ spices seems like second nature. Even though I almost never cooked in India, I know my spices. These flavor enhancers add another dimension to food, almost like painting highlights and shadows to a still life that would seem flat otherwise.
Different cultures have their own way in which spices are used to cook food and this is how spice blends evolved. People in warmer regions of the world (closer to the equator) tend to use more spices to preserve meat because of its antimicrobial properties. This is why spice blends seem to have more complex flavors in regions like India or Africa versus Iceland or Norway.
Food sustains life,
Spice breathes air into that food.
Our cooking has evolved from roasting meats in a fire pit to complex multi layered recipes of modern day. During this evolution and development of several cooking techniques spices began to and still occupy the most critical dimension to cook flavorful food.