Chilli features in a number of our recipes, however not everyone is expert in their use. The following is a basic guide to their origin, preparation and use.
Chili pepper pods, which are berries, are used fresh or dried. Chilies are dried to preserve them for long periods of time or may also be done by pickling.
Dried chilies are often ground into powders, although many Mexican dishes including variations on chiles rellenos use the entire chili. Dried whole chilis may be reconstituted before grinding to a paste. The chipotle is the smoked, dried, ripe jalapeño.
Many fresh chilies such as poblano have a tough outer skin that does not break down on cooking. Chilis are sometimes used whole or in large slices, by roasting, or other means of blistering or charring the skin, so as not to entirely cook the flesh beneath. When cooled, the skins will usually slip off easily.
The leaves of every species of Capsicum are edible. Though almost all other Solanaceous crops have toxins in their leaves, chile peppers do not. The leaves, which are mildly bitter and nowhere near as hot as the fruit, are cooked as greens in Filipino cuisine, where they are called dahon ng sili (literally "chili leaves"). They are used in the chicken soup, tinola. In Korean cuisine, the leaves may be used in kimchi. In Japanese cuisine, the leaves are cooked as greens, and also cooked in tsukudani style for preservation.
Chili is by far the most important fruit in Bhutan. Local markets are never without chili, always teemed with different colors and sizes, in fresh and dried form. Bhutanese call this crop ema (in Dzongkha) or solo (in Sharchop). Chili is a staple fruit in Bhutan; the ema datsi recipe is entirely made of chili mixed with local cheese. Chili is also an important ingredient in almost all curries and food recipes in the country.
In India, most households always keep a stack of fresh hot green chilis at hand, and use them to flavour most curries and dry dishes. It is typically lightly fried with oil in the initial stages of preparation of the dish. Some states in India, such as Rajasthan, make entire dishes only by using spices and chilies.
Chilies are present in many cuisines. Some notable dishes other than the ones mentioned elsewhere in this article include:
Paprikash from Hungary uses significant amounts of mild, ground, dried chilies, aka paprika, in a braised chicken dish.
Paprykarz szczeciński is a Polish fish paste with rice, onion, tomato concentrate, vegetable oil, chili pepper powder and other spices.
Chiles en nogada from the Puebla region of Mexico uses fresh mild chilies stuffed with meat and covered with a creamy nut-thickened sauce.
Mole poblano from the city of Puebla in Mexico uses several varieties of dried chilies, nuts, spices, and fruits to produce a thick, dark sauce for poultry or other meats.
Puttanesca sauce from Italy is a tomato-based sauce for pasta including dried hot chilies.
Kung Pao Chicken (also spelled Gong Bao) from the Sichuan region of China uses small hot dried chilis briefly fried in oil to add spice to the oil then used for frying.
Nigerian dishes[which?] and those in many parts of Africa.
Som Tam a Green Papaya Salad from Thai/ Lao cuisine traditionally has, as a key ingredient, a fistful of chopped fresh hot Thai chili, pounded in a mortar.
Nam Pla Phrik is a traditional Thai sauce prepared with chopped fresh Thai birds eye chili in fish sauce and lime juice.
Curry dishes which usually contain fresh or dried chillies.
Fresh or dried chilies are often used to make hot sauce, a bottled condiment to add spice to other dishes. Hot sauces are found in many cuisines including harissa from the Middle East, chili oil from China (known as rāyu in Japan), and sriracha from Thailand.
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