Pimenta Malagueta - Brazilian hot pepper powder.

I grew to love these peppers on trips to Brazil with my wife.  Most of the time in Brazil, they pack the peppers whole into bottles with vinegar, and let the pepper oil soak into the vinegar.  I'll do a post on that sometime.  In the meantime, this is another great way to use them.   I grow them in my garden.  I don't know if you can buy them in the States, but you can get seeds from me, or use another pepper of similar size/heat.

     There are two alternatives for drying them out if you don't have a dehydrator (I don't).  You can spread them out somewhere and wait patiently, or you can dry them in the oven.  I do a little of both.  Sometimes I let them dry a bit naturally, then pop them in the oven.   I think the oven imparts them with a little extra smokiness - one of my experiments in the near future is going to be trying to dry them on my smoker.

 

Directions:

Make sure peppers are washed and dry.   You can take the stems off if you want, but they're easier to take off once they're dry.  Put them in a pan of some sort, ideally large enough for them not to be too crowded - you want them at least to be spread out on one level, not on top of each other.  Put the oven on warm and hold, or the lowest bake setting it can do.   My oven turns off automatically after a while, but if yours doesn't, you might want to set an alarm just in case you forget.   After a few hours, check on the peppers and give them a shake.  Once you hear them really rattling around in the pan, and you can crush them between your fingers, take them out.  If you haven't already taken the stems off, do so.   If you have a handheld spice grinder, that has been my go-to implement for grinding them.  If not, the blender works.  Just blend till you have a consistency you want - you shouldn't have any clumping or wetness, just powder and flakes.  Shaking the blender/grinder around helps make sure you are getting everything. Don't open the blender/grinder too fast or too close to your face.  

  That's all there is to it - you now have fresh hot pepper powder that is about twice as spicy as Cayenne powder.  Use your new powers wisely!!!  Or alternatively, dare that one guy who is kind of annoying to sniff some of it.  Either way.  

However you do it, do it leisurely...

Man of Leisure

 

 Malagueta Peppers before they head into the oven.

Malagueta Peppers before they head into the oven.