If You think that You know all about chili peppers, You may not know enough. Let us begin our journey with a myth buster: chilies are not related to Chile, the country. “Chīlli” is a word from Native American language group Nahuatl and means “red”, but actually the fruit itself can be green, yellow and even nearly black.
The Latin name of the plant is capsicum annuum where “annum” means annual. Despite that fact chili pepper is a frost tender plant and does not survive low temperatures. So we have an annual red plant named chili, that’s colorful and lives only one season and is not from Chile, not “chile” pepper at all. A good point to get to know hot chili better!
- Hot as never before
- Scoville scale and million chilies
- Bring on the chili heat!
- Hot chili sauce is not your limit
Hot as never before – hottest chili peppers
As with all great things, chili peppers are used not only for cooking. The component that affects the heat level is called capsaicin. This substance found its place in medicine. As if that’s not enough the peppers are getting hotter year by year in an “arms race” for chilies.
Scoville scale and million chilies
Million city is a city with a million and more inhabitants. Millionaire is a person with millions in a bank account. However, what’s a “million chili”?
In fact heat or spiciness of peppers is measured in scoville heat units (SHU). Today for the hottest peppers it can mean millions of SHU.
Wilbur Scoville was an american pharmacist that created the so-called “Scoville organoleptic test”. Organoleptic test means a test that uses human sensory organs in case of chilies — taste.
Bring on the chili heat – from Jalapeño to Bhut Jolokia!
Even Jalapa paprika, known as jalapeño can sometimes make our mouths burn and that’s only with 5000 scoville units. Clearly the testers don’t eat chilies to measure their “heat”.
They make an alcohol extract of it and dilute the extract. Specially trained people try the solution and repeat dilution until there is no sign of spiciness. The number of dilutions multiplied by 100 SHU is the heat of a chili.
Agriculturists from around the globe are developing chilies with more capsaicin inside. First million SHU was achieved in 2007 by Bhut Jolokia also known as “ghost pepper”. It was the hottest pepper at that time, but not any more.
If peppers would have their hall of fame, it would contain such names as: thai chili or bird’s eye chili (75k SHU), scotch bonnet (200k SHU), already mentioned ghost chili (1 million SHU), carolina reaper (1.5 million SHU), dragon’s breath (2.2 million SHU) and currently the hottest pepper in the world Pepper X (3 million SHU). Spicier than those guys is only pure capsaicin, basically pepper spray.
In light of the above, we have to warn You: do not get pepper burned! Capsaicin is a very reactive and irritative substance. Be careful adding chilies into the food, wear cooking gloves while dealing with any pepper hotter than red chili or jalapeño, and do not touch Your eyes during cooking with chilies. Milk will help with the burning feeling in the mouth.
Hot chili sauce is not your limit
Chilies are beautiful as a plant: colorful fruits of all shapes and sizes contrasting with emerald-green leaves. But edible features of chili make it even more attractive! Get ready to take notes, because You will definitely want to storm the kitchen with our finger lickin’ tasty hot recepies.
Vegetarian chili: simple as it can be
- onions — 2 pcs.
- dried chili peppers — 2 pcs.
- chili pepper — 2 pcs.
- garlic — 1 head
- canned chickpeas — 400 g
- tomatoes in their own juice — 400 g
- canned kidney beans — 400 g
- vegetable broth — 500 ml
- bell pepper powder — to taste
- vegetable oil
- Beech smoked salt — to taste
- oregano — to taste
- cumin — to taste
- Heat dried and fresh chili peppers on a frying pan with a splash of vegetable oil. Add chopped garlic, onions, Beech smoked salt, oregano, cumin, bell pepper powder, canned chickpeas, tomatoes in their own juice.
- With a spatula squash everything till desired consistency.
- Add canned beans and vegetable broth. Cook for 40 minutes. Stir constantly for the last 10 minutes.
- Decorate with cheese tortillas. Bon Appetit!
Crispy spicy vegetable chips
- sweet potato — 2 pcs.
- vegetable oil — 3 tsp. + some for brushing the potato
- Guerande coarse salt — ¾ tsp.
- sun dried pepper Isot chili Ufra Biber — ¾ tsp.
- Cooking method
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Use 2 small sweet potato tubers, without the skin. Cut the vegetables into 3-mm slices using a mandolin or a very sharp knife (you should have 4 cups of chopped vegetables).
- Pour ½ teaspoons of vegetable oil on each baking sheet. Spread with a brush. Arrange the vegetable slices on the baking sheets so that they do not touch one another. Brush potatoes with some oil and sprinkle with Guerande coarse salt.
- Place the trays in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning the trays every 7-10 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown or dry. (to check, take 1 piece from the baking sheet, let cool for 30 seconds, evaluate how crispy it is).
- Remove the baking sheet, let it stand for 1 minute, then place the vegetables in a large bowl or leave to cool on the baking sheet. As a final touch, sprinkle all over the potato Isot chili Ufra Biber. Enjoy the spicy crispiness!
Tangy meatballs with red wine and chili
- For meatballs:
- ground beef (can be mixed with minced pork) — 400 g
- onions — ½ pcs.
- egg — 1 pcs.
- bread (fresh crumbs) — 75 g
- granular mustard — ½ tbsp.
- Birdeye chili pepper — ½ pcs.
- olive oil — 3 tbsp.
- Red wine gourmet salt — to taste
- For the sauce:
- canned tomatoes (pulp) — 800 g
- red wine or meat broth — 100 ml
- onions — ½ pcs.
- bell pepper powder — ½ tsp.
- parsley — to taste
- cilantro — to taste
- Red wine gourmet salt — to taste
- Schinuberries pepper (ground) — to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Finely chop half of the onion. Finely chop the Birdeye chili pepper. Pour olive oil on a baking sheet, heat in the oven.
- Toss the minced meat with onion, chili, mustard, egg, bread crumbs, Red wine gourmet salt and ground Schinuberries pepper. Use your hands to form small spheres — future meatballs.
- Place the meatballs on a preheated baking sheet, sprinkle with vegetable oil and roll them over until they are covered with oil. Bake for 25 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- Prepare the sauce. Heat oil in a skillet. Finely chop the second half of the onion and fry, sprinkle with bell pepper powder, stir. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in wine or broth, add canned tomatoes, Red wine gourmet salt, bring to a boil, cook for another 15 minutes.
- Put the baked meatballs in the sauce, simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cilantro when serving.
*TIP: A more dietary version of meatballs will be obtained from turkey fillets in vegetable broth, and wine can be omitted.