Also known as
Lal Mirchi, Lal mirch
Chilli is an erect, branched, shrub-like herb with fruits, which are used in varied cuisines ranging from Indian and Thai to Mexican, to add a fiery spiciness to dishes.
There are many different species of chillies such as red chillies and Pasilla chillies. Red chillies are fatter and less spicy, often sliced and used in curries are soups. These chillies are however hotter than jalapenos.
Chopped red chillies
Chop red chillies into small pieces using a sharp knife. It can be used for tempering dal or vegetables. It can also be added to pizza toppings to impart a spicy touch.
Dry red chillies
The Pandi Chilli is a medium-spicy chilli that grows across Southern India. Pandi is small with a shiny skin and pale red. It’s spicier than other red chillies but lacks colour. It is usually used in South Indian dishes like curries, subzis, podis and other such dishes as well.
The pasilla chilli is a long, thin, green-coloured chilli which turns dark brown when it matures. When dried it acquires a raisin-like texture, which is why it is called ‘pasilla’ meaning ‘little raisin’ in Spanish. The ripe pasilla is called as "Chilaca" or "Chiles Negro" and is available in Mexico. With its medium to high pungency, it imparts a rich flavour to enchiladas and chilli sauces.
Red chilli roundels
Clean, wash and dry the red chillies. Place the chilli on a chopping board, using a sharp knife discard the stem. Start cutting the chillies horizontally into desired size of thick or thin roundels and use as required. Mostly used in Asian Cuisine and in salads dressings.
Sliced red chillies
Place the red chilli on the cutting board and trim off and discard the root and stem ends. Slice using a sharp knife by cutting vertically across the cutting board. Slice them thinly or thickly as per the recipe requirement.
How to Select
• Chillies are often grown at home in kitchen gardens, but are also very easily available at vegetable markets.
• While buying fresh chillies look for shiny, deep red coloured, crisp and unwrinkled ones.
• Make sure they are bright and unbroken.
• Fresh red chillies are milder than the other varieties and taste great when chopped into salads or used as a decoration on dishes.
• It fits well into pizza toppings and pastas.
• Chilli powder is a common seasoning for chips and such snacks.
• You can also make a hot chilli sauce with red chillies. First heat some oil, add ground chillies, some garlic, a dash of salt and a dash of cumin powder, and cook for a few minutes. Your sauce it ready.
How to Store
• Wash the chillies well and leave them to dry on the counter top.
• Then, pack loosely in a breathable bag or container and store in the refrigerator.
• It will stay good for two weeks.
• Chillies contain capsaicin, a biologically active ingredient beneficial to the respiratory system, blood pressure and heart.
• However, keep in mind that excessively spicy food can cause indigestion and heartburn. Chilli also tends to mask other flavours if used indiscreetly. Hence, add in moderation.