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:
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
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 Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.
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.