Sorry for the lame 80s music reference. I have two serrano peppers brought in from our our struggling, late-planted pepper plants. Hubster thought our cold nights of late would spell their end soon, anyway.
When we planted, we envisioned salsa. These peppers, however, scare me too much for that application. Plus our tomato plants gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago, so purchasing tomatoes right now for a salsa that might be too hot to handle is not the way we want to go.
So, any ideas for these cute but intimidating peppers? We like a little bit of kick (e.g., one big jalopeño to two or three big ripe tomatoes in our salsa), but aren't in search of any tongue-scorching dishes.
I ALWAYS use serranos in Indian food -- I think they're just the right amount of heat for a big pot of dahl or a meat-based curry (1 ordinarily, two for pretty spicy), and they're neutral-tasting enough to work in spite of the fact that they're not traditional or regional to the cuisine. Jalapenos have too much of an identifiable taste, IMO, so serranos are just the ticket.
Yes, they're good for Indian dishes. I prefer chilis when I can get them but lately I have to grow them myself - I can find serranos in the grocery but not chilis. They work pretty well if you're not looking for super hot.
We can sometimes get chilis at the Indian grocery, then I just buy a bunch and freeze them. I cut them up while still frozen (without bothering to thaw) and throw them in the rest of the tempering stuff and they're fine.
You can probably freeze the serranos and use them similarly - just put them in a ziploc freezer bag and just take out one or two whenever you want some.
PS - I thought the song reference was cute! LOL!
What the good 'hounds above said. All I would add is that there's nothing to be worried about in the abstract. You're not dealing with habaneros or ghost chiles. Use them anywhere you'd use a jalapeno, just adding more cautiously and tasting frequently. I've found I can use one serrano for every two to three jalapenos, although individual specimens of both obviously vary greatly in both size and heat---and that fatty on the right looks like a pretty substantial boy so take that into account, too.
They're delicious, if mildly flavored: enjoy the fruits of your labor!
How about making a batch of giardiniera? It's on my list of cooking projects for this upcoming week.