Chico Loco's Guide on How to Sauce Like a Boss

In Singapore, your average chilli is of the bird’s eye variety, typically red or green. By contrast, Mexico grows over a hundred and fifty varieties of chilli peppers, each with their own distinctive flavour and heat profile. We spotlight some of the most popular peppers used across Mexican cuisine and show you how to match the best chilli to your favourite Chico Loco dish.

Cayenne pepper

This small but spirited pepper from the nightshade family was known to natives as kyynha, an indigenous Brazilian Tupi language spoken in the vicinity of Cayenne Island, before it was later anglicised to its present day form by 17th century European merchants who traded in that region. Notorious for its fierce bite with a Scoville scale rating of 4, the cayenne pepper’s characteristic piquant edge and sharp heat packs a fierce punch in marinades, dips and sauces. We’ve jazzed up our chimichurri yogurt with cayenne pepper as a tangy and invigorating companion for salads, roasted vegetables and meats.

Best paired with: spicy bean dishes, meats or roasted vegetables. Our chooks recommend the Lamb Rotisserie and Hearty Farm Lunch Bowl.

Pick up a bottle of our Chile Morita Jamaica Loco Hot Sauce here or a portion of our chimichurri yogurt here.

Green peppercorn

Green peppercorns are the immature drupes harvested from the same Piper nigrum flowering vine native to Kerala that produces black peppercorns. Carrying a striking blend of aromatic, herbaceous and tart notes that impart an invigorating freshness, our green peppercorn gravy’s fruity notes make it an ideal companion for eggs, delicate meats like chicken or fish, or in stuffed tomatoes.

Best paired with: eggs, white meat and stuffed tomatoes with rice. Our chooks recommend our tender Boneless Chicken Thigh Steak and Baja Fish Taco.

Pick up a portion of our green peppercorn gravy here.

Habanero pepper

Once upon a time, the habanero reigned as the world’s hottest chilli with a Scoville scale rating of 5, delivering a punch to the throat—almost seven times as potent than cayenne pepper itself — and closely accompanied by a lingering burn that builds to a slow crescendo, intensified by the pepper’s maturity. Despite the heat, habanero peppers have a sweetness composed of bright floral and zesty citrus notes that pair well with sweet fruits such as apricots, peaches or mangoes to counter its spiciness, as we have done in our mango and habanero sauce.

Best paired with: hot sauces, jerk chicken and tequila cocktails. Our chooks recommend starting with our classic Chicken Rotisserie, Mexican Jackfruit Taco and Coconut and Apricot frozen margarita.

Pick up a bottle of our Habanero Y Maracuya Loco Hot Sauce here, Chile de árbol & Habanero Loco Hot Sauce here or a portion of our habanero mango salsa here.

Serrano pepper

Lightly bitter with a herbaceous profile similar to the jalapeño, serrano pepper offers a richer, slightly smoky facet that is enhanced through roasting and is a well-loved favourite often used raw in salsas and sauces, as we have done in our pico de gallo verde salsa.

Best paired with: carne asada, chicken, tacos, molletes or tortilla chips. Our chooks recommend our Chicken Taco and Corn Tortilla Chips.

Pick up a portion of our pico de gallo verde salsa here.

Jalapeño pepper

Compared to the rest of these scorchers, jalapeño peppers positively elicit a mild tickle on the tongue at best, with a Scoville scale rating falling between 2 and 3. Eaten fresh, the jalapeño is bright and offers a freshness that is slightly sweet when it is harvested at its ripest stage. Traditionally dried and smoked by the Aztecs, the jalapeño produces an earthy, rustic and smoky undertone that makes it a perfect complement to sauces and stews.

Best paired with: salads, stews, meats or on its own. Our chooks recommend the Green & Clean Salad Bowl, Chicken Rotisserie and Sweet Potato Fries.

Pick up a portion of our chipotle mayo here or smoky chipotle BBQ sauce here.

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