Heat rating in Scovilles:
10000 – 30000
The Santaka pepper, also known as Japones Santaka chile pepper and ‘Asian Hot’, is a hot chile that originates from Japan. This mirasol type pepper (meaning the fruits point towards the sun) is cone-shaped, and measures about two inches in length and up to an inch in width. It has a tapered teardrop shape. At harvest time, the skin of the fruit is thin and slightly wrinkled. Peppers mature from green to red. The plant produces white flowers. This great looking and very prolific pepper plant is a great ornamental addition to the garden.
Note: I’ve seen the Hontonka peppers and Santaka pepper names used interchangeably, sometimes both are just called Japones Peppers. I don’t know if both might be the same pepper. They do look very similar. The photos shown here were photographed at the New Mexico Chile Pepper Institute Garden.
FLAVOR: It has an intense, simple, heat. They do not have the complex flavor profile of some peppers, so their pure simple heat is more direct and easily balanced with other bold spices.
USES: It is popular in Asian cuisine and can be found in many Chinese (especially Hunan and Sichuan), Japanese, and southeastern Asian dishes. The dried Santaka pepper is used in sauces, chutneys, salsas, sautéed eggplants, and stir-fries. It blends well in Thai curries with cilantro, garlic, basil, and lemongrass; or in rich peanut sauces.
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