Chili Chat and Jalapeño Poppers

A few weeks ago, we were invited to Frontera Sol de Mexico, a Tex-mex restaurant situated in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya. We’ve actually been to Frontera quite a few times, as I’ve previously performed there with my band. But this time, we had Mr Jesus Luz, a representative of Conservas La Costena in the Asia Pacific region who spent an hour or so enlightening us with facts about and the benefits of our friend, the humble chili, while we enjoyed various finger food served from Frontera’s kitchen.

Stuff you need to know: There are many health benefits associated with Chili. Here are a few examples:

  • Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
  • Improve Heart Health, Boost Circulation, thus help preventing Cardivascular diseases and Stroke.
  • Provides Pain Relief and Reduces Inflammation
  • Helps clear Congestion
  • Limits Spreading of Prostate Cancer and lowers rick of Stomach Cancer
  • Increases Metabolism and Burns fat.
  • Improves digestive conditions (though can also cause stomach problems too, so be cautious and only consume within your limits)
  • With high level of Vitamin C and Vitamin B group, chili can also boost immune system and enhance nervous system function.

Even more reason for me to add that spicy note to everything I cook. Oh, I should also mention that chili is rather addictive. Capsaicin, the natural chemical which is responsible for the burning sensation, promotes the release of endorphins, happy little buzzy things that give fuzzy feelings. That gives us the natural high and keeps us going back for more.

Introducing Jalapeño pepper, one of the most widely used Chilies in Mexico. With Scoville unit ranging from 2500 – 8000, Jalapeño is mild enough for those who can’t handle too much heat. There are many popular Tex-Mex dishes with Jalapeño as either the main ingredients or the accompanying character.

Jalapeño Poppers (using La Costena Whole Jalapeño), Taquitos de Pollo, Croquetas de Pollo and accompanying dips including La Costena Salsa Verde.

Jalapeño Poppers, an Americanised version of a Classic Mexican dish, is made with hollowed out Jalapeño stuffed with a mixture of cheese and spices, sometimes also ground meat. Frontera does a great version of Jalapeño Poppers, with thick egg batter deep fried to a crisp, and oozy melted cheese inside. Frank had his first taste of these babies and fell in love in seconds. First bite. He had about 5 of them that night and would have had more but they wanted to close their kitchen at a reasonable hour etc.

On a side note, I also enjoyed the Taquitos de Pollo, crispy corn ‘tube’ much like the Italian’s cannelloni, stuffed with a creamy chicken filling, perfect with some Salsa Verdem a dip made with Tomatillos. The Chicken Croquettes were tasty in their own right, with pillowy soft centre.

Thank you for the invitation, Ramesh!

With Ramesh, manager of Frontera. We were given La Costena Party Packs (Salsa Dip and Tortilla Chips) as door gifts. I love the HOT salsa! Great on its own or incorporated into other recipes.

Frontera Sol of Mexico
18-G-2, Palm Square, Jaya One,
72A Jalan Universiti, PJ

Ever since that night Frank can’t stop talking about these Jalapeño Poppers. His relentless pleas “inspired” me to make them at home. The fact that he offered to help in the kitchen was a result too. But of course, I don’t like deep frying food. That’s why I went for this healthy baked version and take it a notch further using Low Fat cream cheese. Granted, the other cheeses are not low-fat but at least I’m trying, right?

The skinnier option

“Skinny” Baked Jalapeño Poppers (serves 2):
5 Fresh Jalapeño Peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
1/3 block Philadelphia Low fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons Cheddar Cheese
2 tablespoons Mozerella Cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup All Purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 170C. Place the Panko breadcrumbs on a baking sheet, spreading them evenly. Bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Cut the jalapeño lengthways and deseed, get rid of the membranes too. Don’t have to completely clean it out if you can handle your heat though. It’s a matter of how adventureous you want to be.

As you can see, I left some bits of the membranes on. I don’t mind the heat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cheeses, paprika and cayenne pepper. Fill each jalapeño half with 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture.

Resist to temptation to pop one in the mouth straightaway.

On a plate, combine the flour, pinch of salt and pepper. In another small bowl, lightly beat the egg. On another plate, place the Panko breadcrumbs.

Dip each Jalapeño half in the flour, shaking off the excess, in the egg wash, and then in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off the excess.

Bake the coated Jalapeños cut size up in 170C oven for 30 minutes or until Golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Delicious and light!

The baked poppers taste slightly different to their deep-fried sibling, but nevertheless addictive. The crust was adequately crispy and the melted cheese was delightful. It wasn’t too spicy, just enough gentle heat to speed up the metabolism a little. Next time I’ll make more!

20 Comments Add yours

  1. i’ve read so much about jalapeno poppers, never tried them before. so creative of you to make a healthier version.. looks yummier than the deep fried ones.. 😀

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! You can also make it gluten free by using GF breadcrumbs and GF flour.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! And guilt free!

  2. Esther says:

    I have not tried these before, but i can imagine it would taste great, with the combination of various tasty cheeses and the kick from the peppers. Great party food. Skinny works for me, bookmarked 🙂

    1. kellysiew says:

      The kick is not too crazy, even more ang mo bf can take it. So do give it a go!

  3. suituapui says:

    My missus would be very healthy then? She eats chilies by the kilo… LOL!!!! Nice food, I like Mexican…

    1. kellysiew says:

      Hahahaha she’s very healthy indeed! Of course, it depends what the rest of your diet is…..

  4. Ng Choi Yen says:

    I dare not to eat a whole chili like this, I prefer them to be blended into sambal or chili paste 😛 *weird me*

    1. kellysiew says:

      This would actually be less spicy than sambal or chili paste, if you can take chili padi then this is very mild.

  5. thks for sharing… will try the healthier version! I am such a huge fan of Jalapeno poppers…. XD

    1. kellysiew says:

      Hehehe I’m sure you’ll enjoy this version too!

  6. Peach says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂
    I love my chilli ^_^

    1. kellysiew says:

      You are welcome! Have more chili!

  7. CK says:

    I love chili a lot, especially the way use in Asian cuisine. I was craving sambal when I was in South America for 3 weeks. LOL

    1. kellysiew says:

      No spicy food over there then?

      1. CK says:

        They use Jalapeño in some cuisine, but not the way I like. 😛

      2. kellysiew says:

        Hehehehe understood! Sambal is indeed a wonderful creation!

  8. missyblurkit says:

    Love this healthy version. Gonna try it soon…

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