Chilli Red Class 1 - Netherlands £1.00 Alton United Kingdom Www.getfreshandfruity.co.uk

Chilli Red

Class 1 - Netherlands

  • £1.00
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Chilli Red

Medium heat with a fruity tang. Chilli are available fresh, dried (whole, as flakes or ground into powder), preserved in oil (where the heat from the chilli will infuse the oil) or made into condiments such as Tabasco. When shopping for more interesting varieties, farmers' markets and ethnic stores are the best hunting grounds. Look for a smooth, glossy skin that is deep in colour and firm to the touch. Discard any chillies with shrivelled skin, brown marks or watery bruises.

    Some of the most common chilli varieties are:

    Poblano - mildly hot, dried chilli used in the Mexican mole poblano sauce

    Mulato Isle±o - mildly hot chilli with a deep, sweet flavour

    Ortega - elongated mildly hot New Mexican chilli, ideal for use in stews and salsas

    Chipotle - mild, dried smoked chilli commonly used in Mexican cooking and commercially produced chilli sauces

    Pasillas - long, very dark brown chillies, usually sold dried, then ground and added to sauces

    Jalapenos - fiery chillies, used either fresh or pickled; can be dried and smoked to make chipotles towards the end of the growing season

    Tabasco - hot chillies with a distinctive flavour that comes from a fermentation process in which the chillies are combined with vinegar and salt

    Bird's-eye - tiny but powerful green and red chillies, especially common in Thai and South-east Asian cooking

    Habanero - lantern-shaped, blow-your-head-off hot chilli, usually orange, with a slightly fruity flavour

    Scotch Bonnet - lantern-shaped red-hot chilli related to the habanero, usually yellow, green or red in colour

    Storage

    Chillies in prime condition can be stored for a week or two in a ventilated plastic bag in the fridge. Chilling affects the flavour, so bring them to room temperature before use. Dried chillies will keep for around 12 months if stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

    Preparation

    The seeds and flesh of the chilli can both be eaten, but cooking chillies does not reduce the intensity of capsaicin; only removing the seeds and veins will lessen their heat. To prepare fresh chillies, slit them lengthwise, remove the seeds and membranes with the tip of the knife and cut off the stem. Rinse them under cold running water and then prepare according to the recipe. It's very important to avoid contact with the eyes or any sensitive skin during or after preparing chillies - even washing your hands afterwards may not be enough to remove all the capsaicin.

    Mild chillies can be roasted and stuffed in the same way you would a sweet pepper. To roast fresh chillies, place them under a very hot pre-heated grill, directly over a gas flame or - best of all - over hot coals, until the skin blackens and blisters. Be careful not to over-roast chillies as they tend to disintegrate.

    Some of the larger dried chillies work better when reconstituted. If you're making a liquidy dish such as a soup or sauce, add the dried chillies to the pan whole and they'll plump up during cooking. Otherwise, reconstitute them by soaking in a bowlful of water for about an hour, then use them in the same way as fresh chillies. Crumbled dried chillies work well when fried in olive oil with garlic and mixed with spaghetti for a simple Italian-style supper.

    Other considerations

    Should you find yourself with a particularly fiery mouthful of chilli, the most effective antidotes are dairy products (particularly when combined with cooling cucumber, as in the Indian raita), because capsaicin is fat-soluble. Eating starchy foods such as bread or rice can also help. A drink of cold water won't help - it will actually seem to increase the heat.

    Main course

    Light meals and snacks

    Brunch

    Starters and nibbles

    Side dishes

    Desserts

    Cakes and baking

    Drinks and cocktails

    Other

    See all recipes using chilli


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