One of Mochidoki’s core values is “Respect the Flavors.” In this series, we’ll explore the many ingredients and flavors featured in our mochi lineup, giving them the time, attention and respect they deserve.
What is a habanero?
A habanero is a small, hot variety of chili pepper. The short pepper is green when unripe but changes to a red or orange color once it matures. While not as spicy as a ghost pepper, a habanero rates 100,000-350,000 on the Scoville Scale which makes it hotter than the jalapeno or serrano pepper.
(Image courtesy of Broke Bank Vegan)
Where does the habanero come from?
Though it originated in the Amazon region of South America, the habanero mainly grows in Mexico and Central America. Its name, literally translating to, “something or someone from the city of Habana, Cuba,” suggests that the peppers made their way north by way of the Caribbean, where growing conditions were ideal.
Today, the Yucatan Peninsula, located in southeastern Mexico, is the top producer of the habanero because of its strong sunshine and drier soil, making for spicier peppers.
What does Habanero taste like?
While the habanero is undoubtedly hot, when you bite into this pepper, you may also notice floral and fruity notes. The heat profile of the habanero is also more unique than other peppers, because of the longer time to come on. When eaten by itself, the habanero is assertive and pungent. When cooked into dishes, the heat is more bearable and complex.
How is the habanero used?
While they can be grilled or sauteed, habaneros truly shine when roasted, allowing their complex flavors to shine through. Because of their slightly sweet and citrusy flavor profile, habaneros are often paired with fruits like mangos, peaches and pineapples in salsas and hot sauces.
When creating our seasonal mochi, we kept this idea of sweet & heat in mind, looking to the first known form of drinking chocolate, Aztec xocōlātl for inspiration. Combining the highest quality of cacao with hot habanero chili, this seasonal flavor is aromatic, rich and full of spice.
Tempted to taste our Habanero Chocolate mochi ice cream? Try it online or stop by one of our New York City shops to see if you can handle the heat!