Fermented Green Chili Pumpkin Soup

By Michelle Chang

Michelle Chang was born in Taiwan in 1967. In 2012, she moved to France, and in 2017, opened her restaurant, La 5ème Saveur. Her cuisine is a revisitation of French cuisine through fermentation. She is also a writer and columnist for a Taiwanese health magazine. www.cheffemichellechang.com

About Green Chili

When we think of chili peppers, we react differently depending on our eating habits; some people will immediately shake their heads and stay away, while others will feel excited. The capsaicin in chili peppers is like fire that burns the sensation. Some people like it, some people don’t.

There are many food cultures in the world where spicy food is popular, such as Thai cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Korean cuisine… Different spicy dishes use different varieties of chili peppers, and the subtle differences combined with the combination of different ingredients give birth to the unique flavor of spicy cuisine in each country.

The spicy flavor of chili peppers comes from capsaicin, which is present in large quantities in the part of the plant which holds the seeds, and to a lesser extent in the flesh.

Although spiciness highlights spicy cuisine, it is not a sense of taste but a painful sensation that affects the brain neurologically through the nerve endings (trigeminal nerve). To avoid this pain, it leads to the secretion of endorphins, so capsaicin can be said to be a hormone that can create a sense of happiness.

For example, chili peppers are rarely used in French cuisine. But sometimes a little cayenne pepper or Espelette pepper is sometimes added to color the dish and to improve other flavors due to the sensitivity of the spicy taste buds.

Chili peppers are rich in vitamins B, C, carotenoids, potassium, magnesium, iron, and other micronutrition, making them a nutritious vegetable. How to balance the stimulation of spicy food with chili pepper intake? Spicy dishes are usually balanced with sour and sweet flavors. Such as tomato, tamarind, lemon, vinegar, coconut sugar….

Fermenting the chili is a wonderful way to balance the spiciness. The acid produced by the lactic acid during the fermentation process has softened the spiciness, and the fermentation helps to release the sweetness from the chili, which will allow the next dishes to be made without adding acidity or even sugar.

Fermented Kumquat Green Chili
Preparation: 20 minutes
Fermentation: 3 to 4 weeks

Fermented Green Chili Pumpkin Soup
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 20~30 minutes


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For 4 Servings

1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)