Thai Prickly Pear Salsa

Thai peppers are hot. Very hot. To put it in perspective, they’re on the same level of the Scoville Scale (heat measurement index) as the Sonoran region’s famous chiltepin peppers. So for this week’s Sunday Salsa I decided to integrate the Thai Peppers into a Thai Prickly Pear Salsa in hopes of taming their heat.

I originally got the idea for this salsa after tasting sriracha. Thai peppers are an integral part of the very spicy and vinegary sriracha sauce.

I wanted to keep that same concept with the Thai Prickly Pear Salsa, but make it more bearable by adding prickly pear syrup, cinnamon basil, and ginger. After making this salsa you’ll think it looks more like a vinaigrette, but take one bite and the Thai Peppers will remind you that there is still a punch to this dish.

I ended up using the Thai Prickly Pear Salsa on top of my grilled salmon and teriyaki chicken. The salsa can go on veggies and rice as well, but don’t hesitate to also snack on it with chips. It can become an addictive side dish.

The sweetness from the prickly pear definitely adds a gratifying and addictive taste, while also giving this sauce a southwest flair.

One of the underrated ingredients to the Thai Prickly Pear Salsa is the cinnamon basil. All types of basil possess an irresistible aroma, but the cinnamon basil has an incomparable richness. I thought its flavor would work perfectly with the Thai Prickly Pear salsa, bringing it an additional sweetness to tame the peppers.

Cinnamon basil is one of two types of basil that I’m currently growing in my herb garden, along with the chef’s trio variety. I first attempted to grow basil in the same planter as my oregano and cilantro, but the other two herbs over took the basil quickly. I ended up planting two new basils in a separate container where they have since grown into small bushes.

3 Thai Peppers, stemmed and seeded
¾ cup Prickly Pear Syrup
2 Garlic cloves
5 Cinnamon Basil leaves
2/3 cup Water
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Ginger

Cut the stems and remove the seeds from the Thai Peppers (highly recommend using gloves while cutting the peppers). Add the water, vinegar, and peppers to the blender and purée for 30 seconds. Then add the prickly pear syrup followed by the rest of the ingredients and blend for one minute. Pour the salsa into a glass bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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