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Recipe Friday: Beyond Heat

Heat? It’s a complex story, in the best possible way. We’ve observed trends in spicy for years and have witnessed an exciting evolution to this new, multi-sensorial, layered taste experience. Today, heat continues to push beyond the singularly spicy realm and takes off on a journey where heat and ingredient pairings come together to shape how heat is perceived and how long it lingers and finishes.

Check out these innovative recipes from McCormick for Chefs for some inspiration!

Crispy Mala Chicken Sandwich

Traditionally, mala is a spicy tingling seasoning made with szechuan peppercorns and chili flakes popular in Chinese cuisine. Here it’s combined with crushed cornflakes to give chicken an unforgettable heat and crunch. Tucked into a sandwich bun with a Frank’s RedHot® spiked mayonnaise sauce and spicy pickled vegetables, the elements of heat and flavor, and crispy, crunchy, and creamy textures all and combine to make every bite irresistibly good.

Yield: 80


25 ea. eggs, lightly beaten
50 tsp plus 1½ cups Franks ® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
4⅛ T salt
6¼ gal cornflakes, coarsely crushed
50 tsp plus 8⅓ T chili powder
50 tsp plus 8⅓ T ground szechuan pepper
8⅓ T plus 8⅓ T garlic powder
4⅛ T plus 2 T cayenne pepper, ground
4⅛ T McCormick Culinary ® Chinese Five Spice
100 tsp vegetable oil
100 ea. boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (about 1 lb)
125 ea. green onions, ends trimmed
3 qrts mayonnaise
75 T butter, melted
100 ea. seeded brioche buns, split, toasted


  1. In shallow dish, whisk egg, first amount of RedHot Sauce and salt. In separate shallow dish, mix cornflakes, first amount of each chili powder, Szechuan pepper, garlic powder and cayenne, Chinese Five Spice Blend and oil until well blended. Reserve until ready to coat chicken.
  2. Grill green onions over medium-high heat until lightly charred; chop. Mix green onions, mayonnaise and second amount RedHot Sauce in small bowl. Hold refrigerated for service.
  3. Mix butter with remaining chili powder, Szechuan pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in bowl. Hold ambient for service.

To Serve

  1. Set oven to 400°F. For each sandwich, dredge one chicken thigh in egg mixture and then coat evenly in cornflake mixture. Place chicken on wire rack on sheet tray.
  2. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Brush chicken with 1 T butter mixture.
  3. Spread mayo mixture on brioche roll, place chicken and top with Mala-Inspired Pikliz and crown of roll.

Five Spice Charred Piña Colada

Take a journey beyond the singularly spicy with this deconstructed take on the piña colada. With a spiced simple syrup base, an aromatic charred grilled pineapple mixture, and a whipped coconut-rum cream finish, we invite you to explore each layer however you choose to truly experience the multiple dimensions of this unique cocktail.

Yield: 100

Ingredients for Charred Pineapple

3 qrts water
3 qrts sugar
50 T (1 oz) dark rum
62½ tsp McCormick Culinary ® Chinese Five Spice
4⅛ T ground szechuan pepper
4⅛ T chipotle chile pepper, ground
8⅓ T pure vanilla extract
75 ea. pineapple rings
3 qrts pineapple juice
2⅓ gal ice


  1. Mix water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil. Add rum, spices and seasonings. Whisk until well blended. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Grill pineapple rings over medium-high heat, until lightly charred on both sides. Cool completely. Place in blender. Add syrup mixture and pineapple juice. Pulse until well mixed. Hold refrigerated for service.

Ingredients for Coconut Cream

1⅛ gal heavy whipping cream, cold
2 qrts confectioners’ sugar
1½ qrts Thai Kitchen® Coconut Cream, well stirred
8⅓ T fresh lemon juice
50 T (1 oz) dark rum


  1. Place all ingredients in chilled mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed to soft peaks. Hold Refrigerated for Service until ready to serve.

To Serve

  1. Place charred pineapple puree and ice in blender. Process until very smooth. Pour into four (12-oz/375-ml) beverage glasses. Top with whipped Coconut Cream mixture. Garnish with a sprinkle of Chinese Five Spice and small wedge of charred pineapple or pineapple fronds, if desired.

Sansho Pepper Yakitori With Spicy Furikake

Meet szechuan pepper's citrusy cousin, Japanese sansho pepper. Offering up both heat and a tingling sensation, it delivers a welcome kick to skewered chicken as an ingredient in our sweet-hot Yakitori glaze. Garnished with furikake, a beloved Japanese seasoning boasting a subtly crunchy umami and spice, this is dish isn’t just an appetizer, it’s an experience.

Yield: 4

Ingrediients for Spicy Furikake

1 tsp ground sansho pepper
1 T sesame seeds, black
1 T sesame seeds, white
½ tsp black pepper, coarse grind
½ tsp red pepper, crushed
½ tsp ginger, ground
½ tsp sea salt, Mediterranean fine grind


  1. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Hold for service.

Ingredients for Yakitori

½ cup sweet soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar, unseasoned
1 T mrin
1 tsp white miso paste
¼ tsp ground sansho pepper
1½ lbs chicken thighs, boneless skinless, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ea. scallions, large, trimmed and cut into 2-inch sections


  1. In a bowl, mix sweet soy, vinegar, mirin, miso and sansho pepper. Reserve half of the mixture to brush yakitori during grilling.
  2. Add chicken to bowl with remaining glaze; toss to coat well. Hold refrigerated for service.

To Serve

  1. Alternately thread chicken and green onion pieces onto skewers.
  2. Grill over medium-high heat, six to eight minutes, turning frequently and brushing with reserved yakitori glazed during last few minutes. Sprinkle with Furikake to serve.

Yuzu Kosho Scallops With Miso Foam

Together, a decadent yuzu kosho butter and miso foam deliver a complex spicy, citrusy, and aromatic bite that pairs well with the sweet, caramelized flavors of golden scallops. Bursting with umami, this dish will transport you to a place of ocean views, crashing waves, and sandy beaches in an instant. 

Yield: 100

Ingredients Edamame Crumble

2⅓ gal shelled edamame, fresh or frozen thawed
50 tsp vegetable oil
2 T ginger, ground


  1. Set oven to 375°F. Toss edamame with oil and ginger to coat. Spread in even layer on large parchment-lined sheet tray.
  2. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Cool slightly. Coarsely chop or crumble edamame. Hold for service

Ingredients for Miso Foam

3 qrts whole milk
2 qrts heavy whipping cream, cold
75 T red miso paste
8⅓ T Thai Kitchen ® Premium Fish Sauce
8⅓ T liquid sunflower lecithin, optional stabilizer
4⅛ T tamari


  1. Place all ingredients in bowl. Blend using an immersion blender one to two minutes or until mixture resembles a thick foam. Hold refrigerated for service.

Ingredients for Yuzu Kosho Scallops

12½ T vegetable oil
300 ea. sea scallops, patted dry
1 cups yuzu kosho

To Sserve

  1. Heat oil on high heat until shimmering. Add scallops, cook two to three minutes on one side to sear. Add Yuzu Kosho Butter to skillet. Turn scallops; cook one to two minutes longer, basting frequently with melted butter until lightly browned and cooked through.
  2. For each serving, plate three scallops and drizzle with melted Yuzu Kosho Butter from skillet. Spoon Miso Foam around scallops. Top scallops with prepared Yuzu Kosho and sprinkle with Edamame Crumble to serve.

Tingly Grapefruit Fizz

Grapefruit soda helps carry the tingly, spicy, citrusy, and bitter notes of Timut pepper and crushed red pepper throughout every sip to create the ultimate in spicy cocktail experiences. Trust us when we say this fizzy, bubbly cocktail will warm you from the inside out.

Yield: 1


¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
¼ cup (2 oz) tequila
2 T (1 oz) grapefruit liqueur
1 T fresh lime juice
1 T agave nectar
1 tsp timut pepper, coarsely ground
1 tsp red pepper, crushed
½ cup grapefruit soda, chilled


  1. Fill large cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients except grapefruit soda. Shake vigorously.
  2. Fill 12-oz highball glass halfway with ice. Strain cocktail through fine mesh sieve over ice in glass. Top with grapefruit soda. Sprinkle with additional Timut pepper and garnish with grapefruit wheel.

Savory Seeni Sambol Turnovers

Seeni sambol, a spicy and sweet Shri-Lankan caramelized onion relish helps brighten up this savory turnover with spices like crushed red pepper and ground cardamom, offering an exciting glimpse into flavor innovation from a global standpoint. It also makes for an extremely convenient grab-and-go lunch or elaborate snack!

Yield: 100

Ingredients for Seeni Sambol

50 T vegetable oil
25 ea. red onion, large, thinly sliced
50 T tamarind paste
50 T sugar
125 ea. dried curry leaves, finely crushed
8⅓ T red pepper, crushed
2 T cardamom
1 T cloves, ground
25 ea. cinnamon sticks
4⅛ T salt


  1. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and caramelized. Discard cinnamon stick. Hold chutney refrigerated until ready to assemble turnovers.

Ingredients for Savory Beef Turnovers

25 lbs ground beef
4⅛ T onion powder
37½ tsp salt
2 T black pepper, ground
50 T vegetable oil
12½ lbs (8 oz) oyster mushrooms, cut into strips
75 ea. cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 T salt
1½ qrts scallion
50 ea. sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed, quartered


  1. Mix ground beef, onion powder, first amount of salt and pepper in medium bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and second amount of salt. Cook and stir five minutes or until mushrooms are softened and garlic is lightly browned. Remove from heat.

To Assemble

  1. Arrange pastry squares on large parchment-lined baking pan. Divide Seeni Sambol mixture and spread on center of pastry squares. Divide beef mixture and place on top of Seeni Sambol. Layer with mushrooms. Fold in two opposite corners of pastry to enclose filling, pinching to seal in center. Hold refrigerated for service.

To Serve

  1. Set oven to 375°F (190°C). Brush pastry with egg wash.
  2. Bake 20 minutes until pastry is lightly browned and crisp, and beef is cooked through. Serve hot.

Sweet Heat Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream Bars

A feast for the eyes first, these gorgeous ice cream bars offer up a multi-sensorial experience when it comes to the complexity of heat. Your first bite is the raspberry shell garnished with freeze-dried raspberries and a dusting of cayenne, followed by a luscious no-churn vanilla ice cream kissed with crushed red pepper and the sweet-heat of a hot sauce and cayenne red pepper raspberry swirl. The rich dairy coats your palate, helping to balance the delivery of heat in this unique frozen treat.

Yield: 16

Ingredients for No-Churn Ice Cream

2 cups cold heavy cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ cups whole milk
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 T pure vnilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp red pepper, crushed


  1. Place cream in blender; blend on high until stiff peaks form. Add remaining ingredients, except crushed red pepper and blend on high speed until well combined and slightly thickened. Set aside.

Ingredients for Sweet Heat Raspberry Swirl

2 pts fresh raspberries, cleaned
⅓ cup hot sauce
½ tsp cayenne pepper, ground


  1. Place raspberries, hot sauce and cayenne pepper in blender; puree until smooth.

Ingredients for White Chocolate Shell

11 oz white baking chocolate
⅓ cup plus 2 T coconut oil
25 drops red food coloring


  1. Mix white chocolate and coconut oil in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for one minute, stirring every 20 seconds, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in food color. Cool to room temperature.

To Prepare

  1. Fill 16 ice-pop molds ¼ of the way with ice cream mixture. Layer each with 1 T (15 ml) raspberry mixture, swirling into ice cream layer with a small knife. Repeat ice cream and raspberry layers, ending with a third ice cream layer. Freeze one hour. Insert wooden stick into each mold. Freeze at least two hours longer or until completely frozen.
  2. Carefully remove ice cream bars from molds. Sprinkle evenly with crushed red pepper. Dip bars in shell mixture to coat. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with additional ground cayenne and crushed freeze-dried raspberries, if desired. Return to freezer at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.



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