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January 3, 2019

Chillies of India - Apex varieties

Hi,

Wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2019!

My first post of this year. It is a spicy start up with this post on Chillies of India with the history of Chillies.

Chillies are commonly seen to spice the Indian, Thai and Indo-Chinese cuisines. They are later entrant to Indian Market. It was native to South America later spread & cultivated at different parts of the world. Chillies were brought to India by the Portugese in the 16th Century.  

Then what did we use to spice up our food before the arrival of Chillies? -  "Black Gold" as known to the entire world, our own Black Peppercorns!!! It spread to the world from our Country during the ancient trading system.  Grown in the state of Kerala.

Chilli is a fruit or a vegetable? Chilies, with their internal, edible seeds, are most definitely a fruit. Yes, a fruit most often eaten like a vegetable, but a fruit nonetheless.


The variety from the State of Andhra Pradesh is the famous "Guntur Chilli". This State is known for it's spicy dishes. Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of Chilli in India.

 "Bhut Jolokia" is the spiciest Chilli in our country from North East India.

" Gandhari" is  from Kerala. This variety is also known as Bird's eye chilli and is grown in north eastern india as well. Normally, chillies will be hanging down towards earth  from the plant. However , this chilli stands up straight with their pointed end towards the sky. They are smaller in size and spicy in taste.

If you have ever wondered after eating in a fine dine Restaurant about the flavour of chilli used in the dish?

The "Pandi Mirch" is the most common variety of Dried Red Chilli from Southern India that is used widely in fine dine restaurants for Tadka (tempering) and in fine dine Chinese Cuisines. This gives spiciness and flavour to the dish, to which it is added. 

The variety "Byadgi Chilli" from Karnataka is grown in a place called Byadgi. This has second largest turnover in chilli production in India. This gives more colour and is less spicy and hence used in fine dine cuisines of restaurnats.

Kashmiri Chillies are rich in colour but they are less spicy. So for Masala Powders that need to be Red in colour, this chilli can be used.

Naga Chillies are also very spciy. 

Do you know, to keep elephants at bay, in Africa, Chillies are ground and mixed with dung, made like big cakes and then burnt to naturally drive elephants away. Even armies, use this as a weapon when needed.

The round Chillie known as "Madrasi Chilli " - is actually called "Mundu" from Ramanathapuram district of Tamizh Nadu. If you have noticed the photos mentioning cuisines from tamil nadu, the red plum like garnishing tadka on top which enhance the presentation is actually this Mundu chilli. This chilli is not very spicy but it gives nice flavour to the dish.

There are many varities of Chillies grown in our country but I have shared few important ones that has an important place in cuisines widely preferred. Chillies are an integral part of our Indian cooking infusing their Colour, Taste and Flavour according to their charachter. 

Research says, Chillies have health benefits viz., source of Vitamin C, reduce intestinal tumors, helps in weightloss, etc... but should be under nominal use. Anything in excess will create it's own problem.

Spice up your food to stay active and healthy!

Jai ho!


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