10 Tasty Ways to Turn Up the Heat

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

Looking for a new way to sweat this summer? Scottsdale’s renowned chefs have found deliciously creative ways to turn up the heat. Here’s our tasty, and toasty, list of local favorites:

Shrimp Chicharron at deseo

Aji amarillo chiles and pickled jalapeños give this dish a powerful punch of heat and a subtly sweet finish. The lemon-colored aji amarillo peppers have a distinctive smoky flavor and are a staple in traditional Peruvian cuisine.

Aji Pizza at Craft 64

Who would have thought that the combination of jalapeño peppers and pizza would be such a great pair? Well that is exactly what Craft 64 did with their Aji pizza. This delicious and spicy pairing features their house-made mozzarella, parmigiana reggiano, fennel sausage, sautéed onions, ricotta and their Spicy Aji jalapeño sauce.

Mango Habanero Margarita at Tommy Bahama

Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Bitters and two slices of fresh habanero chile give this mighty cocktail its kick. Smooth Milagro Silver tequila, Curacao orange liqueur and mango puree sweeten the deal.

Brisket Torta at The Mission

Served with a smoked habanero barbecue sauce, aji amarillo, coleslaw and pan de yucca, this dish isn’t for the faint of heart. Make sure to have a scoop of tres leches ice cream waiting to lick your wounds after this spicy feast.

El Diablo at Zinburger

Roasted jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo put the fire in this devilishly good burger. Feeling decadent? Go for the Kobe beef option, add a side of Spicy Green Chili Fries, then douse the inferno with a cool and creamy Chocolate Mint milkshake.

Korean Fried Cauliflower at The Herb Box

This “meaty” veggie dish (pictured above) features crispy fried cauliflower tossed in housemade Korean hot pepper sauce. The sauce is a proprietary recipe by Chef Becky J. Windels that gets its heat from traditional Korean Gochujang hot pepper paste and Sriracha sauce, and its hint of sweetness from brown sugar.

Spicy Cashew Beef at Malee’s Thai Bistro

This tasty dish is a favorite at the iconic Scottsdale restaurant. A medley of carrots, mushrooms and celery are cooked up with the restaurant’s homemade chili reduction sauce, which adds the kick to this dish.

Spicy Thai Chicken Bowl at Hula’s Modern Tiki

This bowl of Polynesian delights features marinated chicken breast swathed in a spicy sauce and resting on a bed of black beans, rice and Napa cabbage. Want it hotter? Ask for chopped Scotch Bonnet peppers to kick it up a notch.

Mezcal Mango Madness at The Hermosa Inn’s Last Drop

In another pepper-mango tango, this spicy delight boasts Illegal Mezcal Reposado, chipotle syrup, mago puree, lime juice and Bittermens Hellfire Shrub Bitters. A garnish of red jalapeño pepper slices adds a fiery finishing touch.

Lamb Vindaloo at Jewel of the Crown

A traditional dish from Goa, India, Vindaloo is chockfull of spices like cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and turmeric. Red chiles add the heat, which you can order to taste. Ask for “Indian hot” to bring on the sweat.