Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jalapeno Peppers are a Popping!

One of my husband's favorite appetizers is the jalapeno popper; either made with cream cheese or cheddar cheese, but he prefers the cream cheese ones.  Not many restaurants use cream cheese, since it is softer than cheddar.  Then again, they also use smaller jalapenos, double batter to make them look huge, but have to cook them longer and cream cheese won't hold up.

I, in turn, find the largest peppers, stuff them with cheese, lightly batter; they fry up faster, the firm cream cheese melts to a perfect, creamy softness, and the peppers retain a certain amount of "scrunch".  By the way, with the light batter, the peppers put forth more of their "hotness"; whereas the thick double batter of restaurants tames the heat.

To each his/her own.  The light batter recipe I'll be giving you is great for any veggie you like to munch on after its been deep fried.

Batter for Frying Vegetables


1/2 cup  flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. water
1 small egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. canola oil


In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.

In a small bowl, combine all the water, beaten egg and oil; add wet ingredients to dry and combine until well mixed and batter is smooth.

Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.

Now comes the fun part, and you'll need to wear plastic gloves for and stuffing the peppers.  Find 6 to 8 large jalapeno peppers; slice off the tops about 1/8 of an inch down, discard; cut a slit lengthwise down the pepper; carefully remove the seeds and white pith without cracking or splitting the entire pepper. 

If you didn't already know, using the plastic gloves will keep your skin from absorbing the oil of the seeds.  If you decide to go gloveless; do NOT touch your face, especially the eyes.  The oil will not wash off, and you might have a burning or tingling sensation on your skin for a couple of days.

If using a deep fryer, follow its instructions on putting in the oil, and temperature setting.  I use a deep skillet, so fill it two inches with either canola or peanut oil; whichever I have on hand at the time.  Turn the heat to high, and it's ready when you flick a few drops of cold water into the oil, and you can hear it sizzle and pop.

To stuff them with the cream cheese, use about 2-3 tablespoons of firm (not whipped) cream cheese.  It's easier to simply use your fingers to stuff them; don't over stuff; you want to make sure the cheese is not coming out of the top, and that the sides of the lengthwise slit can close together.

Put each stuffed pepper into the batter individually; use a fork to lift the batter coated pepper out and let the excess drip off.  Then place into the deep fryer or oil filled skillet; don't do more than two at a time, or the oil temperature will go down too fast.  If you need to, turn the peppers after 3-5 minutes to brown the other side.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Now enjoy as is, as dip into your favorite sauce...ranch, southwestern ranch and bleu cheese work the best.

Mary Cokenour