No these are not cherries, nor are they tomatoes. They are called ‘wiri wiri peppers’ and pack quite a punch. These cute little buggers are extremely hot and native to Guyana.
Growing up, my mom would grow these peppers inside our home, shielding the tropical plant from the Canadian weather. When I was small, I used to be quite intrigued with this plant. It was a small tree that would bloom dainty white flowers, and then bear green rounds that would turn red. To me, it followed the same pattern as our cherry tree in our backyard…boy was I wrong! Thankfully my mother was nearby to prevent me from choppin’ down on these red balls of fire.
Wiri wiri peppers are often treated like a West Indian condiment – that is, it will usually accompany larger dishes when extra heat on the side is needed (like with duck curry; pictured in the post I wrote on Monday). If you just want to add a little flavour and heat to your dish, just cut the skin of the pepper, avoiding the seeds. However if you are bold you can try to have a couple of the seeds keeping in mind, like with all peppers, the seeds make up the core components of heat.
This pepper particularly goes well with any type of West Indian curry (goat, lamb, duck – you name it), yellow dhal and rice, and is also the key ingredient in the deliciously famous West Indian pepper sauce. The Inner Gourmet wrote a great article, with step by step images on how you can make your pepper sauce using these peppers, which you can access here.
Another short post as it is a busy month! But hopefully you’ll be adventurous and try to add this pepper to your meals to ‘kick it up a notch.’ But just keep in mind – these are NOT cherries, and there will be no sweet ending if you eat these whole 🙂