Fried “Chiles Toreados” with Onions

There is really not a good translation from Spanish for the term “chiles toreados”; a literal one to English would be “hot peppers taunted by a bullfighter”, a reference of how bullfighters wave their capote (red cape) in front of the bull to make him angry.  For chiles (hot peppers), which in Mexico are usually serranos, it is a technique that people use to make them spicier; in this context, they “taunt” and make the chiles “angry” by rolling them back and forth, either between their hands, or with one hand against the cutting board:

toreando chiles serranos – taunting serrano peppers “like a bullfighter”

This action bruises some of the tissue and seeds inside the chiles, realising capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning sensation, or hotness, when eating chiles, hence effectively making them feel spicier in the mouth.  Chiles toreados may then be eaten raw, added to salsas and stews, or as they now appear in many Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants, prepared as a side dish of serrano or jalapeño peppers, lightly grilled or fried, and seasoned, sometimes with knob onions. 

It might sound strange, but a lot of Mexican cooks are fervent users of Maggi™ liquid seasoning (jugo Maggi)** on steak, stews, and in this case, on chiles toreados, for an instant punch of umami (yummy flavour):

Other people might use Worcestershire sauce, or more recently, a half and half mixture with soy sauce has become a common choice, too.  

Fried “Chiles Toreados” with Knob Onions-

Chiles toreados fritos con cebollitas

Printable recipe: Fried “Chiles Toreados” with Onions


10-12 serrano peppers; washed, and “toreados” (rolled back and forth between hands, or against a cutting board)
1 bunch knob onions*; roots and green tops removed, and washed
1 tbsp oil
Maggi™ seasoning, to taste (or if not available, a mix of half soy sauce and half Worcestershire sauce)
Salt, to taste

Warm up oil in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat.  Add serranos and onions, and cook, stirring, until slightly charred; season with salt and Maggi™ seasoning, to taste (photo below, left).  Continue cooking and stirring, until everything is coated with the seasonings, and the onions have lightly browned (photo below, right):

Transfer to a plate and serve immediately:

This platter would normally be served with tacos; chiles toreados and onions may be placed on the side or inside tortillas, and sprinkled with lime juice. Buen Provecho!  Enjoy!

*  I have mentioned knob onions before, which are easy to grow (called multipliers), or may be found fresh, at International markets.  If they are not available, peeled pearl onions may be used in this recipe.

** Maggi™ liquid seasoning is a Nestle™ product, originally created in Switzerland by Julius Maggi, in 1886.  Nowadays, it is used worldwide, and its ingredient list might be a little different depending on the region where it was manufactured (for example, Mexican versions might be more concentrated, and in the USA, MSG is omitted.)  The format of the bottles and labels might be forged differently, as well, with different slogans, plastic or glass vessels, some with red lids, others with yellow ones, etc.

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I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #510, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.  

I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #557 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.  Thank you so much to Miz Helen for featuring my Restaurant Style Birria Tacos at this party.

I am joining Fiesta Friday #401 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday, co-hosting this week with Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and Petra @ Food Eat Love.  Special thanks to Angie and Liz for featuring my Restaurant Style Birria Tacos at this party.

I am also sharing my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #336 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome

17 thoughts on “Fried “Chiles Toreados” with Onions

  1. I love anything with onions and chillies are always a favoruite! It sounds like a great dish and great with the added umami! Thank you for sharing them at Fiesta Friday! 🙂 Petra

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your posts are always so interesting and informative. To me serrano peppers are hot enough without ‘toreading’ them. Maggi seasoning used to be very popular here up until the 80ies I’d say.


    1. Thank you, Stefan! Yes, in many instances, “toreados” are for the brave at heart (and stomach, hehe). In Mexico, I think many people are moving towards using soy sauce, but Maggi remains the staple for some.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It sounds delicious but the serrano peppers must become searingly hot! I would fear for my heartburn. It would take some courage to eat them. Thank you for bringing this interesting post to Fiesta Friday. I always learn so much about Mexican food and culture from your blog. I think we tend to over simplify it here in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

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