Help make my birthday dinner HOT
July 23, 2014 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I want to make a large number of small plates of various very spicy and very delicious foods for my birthday next week. Super spicy and super delicious are tied for value in what I'm looking for; I'm not interested in recipes that are all about the heat without being tasty (I'd just pass out grilled peppers if that were the aim). I'm especially interested in finger foods and things that are relatively quick to make, but if it's super delicious and is worth the wait/work, more substantial or utensil-requiring undertakings are also welcome.
posted by spindrifter to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a big fan of things that are hot and cool at the same time and this dip always gets huge raves. Don't worry about the proportions exactly, just use a nice sheeps milk feta (your supermarket has Vigo in brine which I like) and any spicy red pepper (the dip wouldn't be all that attractive in green). Make it as hot as you like. Serve with homemade or bagged pita chips.
posted by ftm at 8:40 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure why you are rejecting grilled peppers - grilled padron peppers were what I was going to suggest until you made that comment.

I'm a fan of spicy hummus and spicy nuts.

A bit off the wall is mango habañero ice cream.
posted by saeculorum at 8:41 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is pretty fantastic, particularly if you can get fresh corn and pepper. Super easy to make, and you can make it ahead of time (though you do need utensils to eat).

Spicy Summer Corn Salad (via)

- 3 cobs of fresh corn
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 Tab fresh cilantro, chopped
- 5 Tab Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
- 1 Tab olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Sprinkling of fresh ground pepper (optional)

Remove the husks (outer leaves) from the corn cobs. Stand it on end, and slice the kernels off, rotating the cob after each slice to get all of them. Discard cobs and place kernels in a medium-sized bowl.

Chop the red pepper into small squares (discard the seeds inside the pepper). Add to the bowl with corn.

Add the Sriracha, olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss around. Serve. Delicious. Add more Sriracha if you need more heat. Alternatively, experiment with fresh chopped jalapeño.
posted by inigo2 at 8:41 AM on July 23, 2014

It is surprisingly easy to make hot pepper jelly, especially if you just store it in the fridge and don't water bath can it. You can sub any kind of pepper for the jalapeno if you have specific heat requirements.

Great with cheese & crackers or tortilla chips. Also amazing as a spread on a turkey sandwich. Could definitely see this either in or alongside a quesadilla.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

It is shocking how good horseradish mixed with salsa is. Add it to a cracker with cheese (I'd recommend a sharp cheddar), and voila.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2014

If you make them today or tomorrow, you could make spicy fridge pickles. Double up on any garlic, mustard, hot pepper flakes, etc. to speed up the spicing process. Bonus: all the work is done a full week in advance.

I make a similar corn salad to inigo2, but my version involves roasting the kernels for a bit before mixing and chilling the salad, and I also add either feta or farmer's cheese.

Also, cold noodles in spicy peanut or sesame sauce! I use the Bittman recipe but go heavier on the hot sauce in the sauce, and heavier on the sauce relative to the noodles. It holds up in the fridge but it rarely lasts that long. Not a finger food, of course, but very very delicious.
posted by pie ninja at 8:51 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's also a lot you can do with deviled eggs, like sriracha and wasabi.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:54 AM on July 23, 2014

Response by poster: Didn't mean to badmouth (heh) grilled peppers, saeculorum! They can be great, too.
posted by spindrifter at 8:54 AM on July 23, 2014

Spicy sausage skewers/on toothpicks would be tasty, like this shrimp and chorizo recipe. Hot Italian sausage with peppers & onion would also be good.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:54 AM on July 23, 2014

Maybe some spicy slider burgers? There are lots of recipes online that you could use to match or contrast with other spicy flavors (asian or mexican or indian).
posted by shortyJBot at 8:55 AM on July 23, 2014

These Sriracha and sambal oelek chicken skewers are hot and delicious.
posted by cecic at 8:58 AM on July 23, 2014

My friend and I have been obsessed with sriracha butter lately. You just melt a mix of butter and sriracha in the microwave and either dip bread in it or use it any way that you would use butter.

My suggestion would be to make a very spicy pureed tomato-and-red-pepper soup and then serve it in Dixie Cups with grilled cheeses made with pepper jack and sriracha butter.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:00 AM on July 23, 2014

Might I recommend these chocolate chili mini cakes for dessert? (You can make them as a cake also.)
posted by jeather at 9:03 AM on July 23, 2014

Also I am a big fan of this chipotle-papaya-yogurt dip, if you want to serve dips.
posted by jeather at 9:08 AM on July 23, 2014

How about pad kee mao? Here are a few recipes: one, two, three. I'm vegan so I make it with tofu and vegetarian oyster sauce, but even with those specialized substitutions, I can attest that it's very easy to cook, super-tasty, and VERY spicy. Blistering heat is like the entire point of pad kee mao.

Sichuan dan-dan noodles (see also) are along the same lines. Sichuan pepper is an amazing addition to any stirfry-type dish. It makes your tongue tingle! I love it on crispy salt and pepper tofu.

Finger food ideas: Crispy buffalo cauliflower bites, minced tofu laab/larb in lettuce cups, patatas bravas, spicy cashews, spicy roasted chickpeas.

And here is a previous Ask, from one year ago today: Spicy desserts?

Happy birthday!
posted by divined by radio at 9:21 AM on July 23, 2014

+1 to grilled padron peppers. They're not all super spicy but the tart-slow-burn mixed with yowza! is so delicious.
posted by barnone at 9:24 AM on July 23, 2014

I made the Misir Wot pretty much according to this recipe last week and, no joke, it temporarily broke my tastebuds (and I do have pretty good spice tolerance). It's mushy enough that you could totally serve it as a dip for pita or other flatbread.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:32 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Turkey Sriracha Meatballs, but serve via toothpicks instead?
posted by inigo2 at 9:38 AM on July 23, 2014

Devils on Hatchback. Use serrano. Normal people will die eating it. It's really, really delicious.
posted by vivzan at 9:39 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Take half of an English muffin, or small pita. Brush them with olive oil, then ricotta cheese. Add jalapeno, banana peppers, and bacon. Toast these under the broiler and then drizzle with Sriracha sauce to finish. Delicious and spicy.
posted by PearlRose at 9:47 AM on July 23, 2014

Lemon-Jalapeño jelly, leave in the seeds (or replace jalapeños with habaneros for more power). I like it with goat cheese or cream cheese on crackers.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:52 AM on July 23, 2014

We do a thing with peppers (japalenos, usually, but whatever small, hot pepper you have would be good) where we cut a slit in them, stuff them with garlic cream cheese, wrap them in bacon, and then grill or bake them until the bacon's cooked. So, so good, and one of those things that people are unreasonably impressed by.
posted by MeghanC at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about pasta arrabiatta?
You could make it a finger food by putting out little paper cups of it. The best part is the looks just like pasta with tomato sauce until you taste it.
posted by Kreiger at 10:19 AM on July 23, 2014

Achiote Chicken. This is one of my favorite recipes when I roast whole chickens. It's also great for delicious spicy wings.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2014

Dduk bok ki. Chewy spicy-sweet rice cakes. If you don't want to make the sauce from scratch, you can find it in a bottle or package in most Korean and some Chinese groceries. Boil up the rice cakes (they are sort of like dumplings), heat the sauce, combine, done.
posted by Adridne at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

So this strawberry magno salsa is tasty and you can make it more spicy by leaving seeds in the peppers, or by adding more, but it is pretty spicy as is. Both of these Thai dishes can be made wicked spicy, especially the top one.
posted by katers890 at 12:20 PM on July 23, 2014

How could I forget the staple of my diet: Spicy guacamole! Use serrano instead of jalapeños.

If you like a sweet/spicy taste, finish the guac with some pomegranate seeds.
posted by vivzan at 12:26 PM on July 23, 2014

How about Thai cucumber salad? Quick to prepare, and then you just leave it in the fridge for a few hours. Spicy-hot, cucumber-cool, sour and sweet all in one dish - what's not to like? Oh, and in my experience, the longer you leave it, the hotter it gets.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:35 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

1. Find or make some pepper jelly/jam that's actually hot and flavorful. My friend makes a pineapple habanero jam that works really well.

2. Get some good goat cheese and some thinly cut pancetta. If it is super thin, you may need to double up

3. Bake the pancetta until it is crispy then cool. Note, you can do this the day ahead and store on the counter in paper.

4. Put a dab of cheese and a smear of jelly on each pancetta round. If you want to get fancy, drop a small leaf of basil on each.

So easy and absolutely amazing. Salty, sweet, spicy, creamy, crispy, and fatty. Everything all at once.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:32 AM on July 24, 2014

Oh, I have another. Spicy pickled carrots.

1. Cut carrots into whatever shape you want. For a party, I would go with spears. Don't get baby carrots, please. They are a silly food.

2. In a pot, combine cider vinegar, sugar, dried oregano, fresh crushed garlic, salt, and pepper flakes. Just make what tastes good to you. I tend to make mine very tangy. If you need more liquid, you can add water.

3. Bring the pickling juice to a simmer and add the carrots. It's best if the liquid comes up at least halfway to the top of the carrots in the pot. Simmer for a little bit, just a few minutes. The carrots will be bright orange and give a little more than they do when they are entirely raw.

4. Let the veg and pickling juice cool on the counter, then put in the fridge. You can do this a couple of days before you serve them.

5. When I serve, I tend to fish them out of the pickling juice and put a bit of olive oil on them for shine and taste.

The pepper flakes add a sneaky building warmth into the carrot that's very pleasant. I make these all the time for packed lunches.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:45 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love these black bean burgers, and they're super easy to make. Shape them into small patties for finger food. The recipe as written is not terribly hot, but you can add thai chili peppers or substitute red curry paste for green.

Look up recipes for chaat (Indian street food). They can be made as hot as you like by increasing the amount of mint chutney, and can't be simpler -- essentially, you just assemble the ingredients -- as long as you have an Indian grocery store near you. The nice thing about them in the context of this party is that they typically have some yogurt to cool down the spice.

On the yogurt note: Raita, which is yogurt mixed in with savory additions like cucumber, onions, cilantro, and chili peppers, is delicious.

These hot sauces are my favorite. Best suited to Mexican, clearly, but surprisingly versatile. You'll probably end up having some Sriracha, and these will vary it up.
posted by redlines at 8:39 AM on July 24, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! these recipes will serve me well for a while!
posted by spindrifter at 11:00 AM on August 7, 2014

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