Chilies are an integral part of Indian cuisine. The varieties available in the market is mind boggling. Botanical name is Capsicum frutescens and belongs to Solanaceae family (potato). In Kannada it is known as Menasinakayi, in Hindi it is known as Mirchi.
Chili pepper is native to South America and was bought to Asia by Portuguese travelers during the 16th century. India is the world’s biggest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers.
The chili plant grows to a height of 2 to 6 feet. The leaves are dark green. Flowers are white and small. The fruit is green when immature and varies in size from 1 cm to 8 inches. The fruit contains many flat seeds. As the fruit ripens it turns red.
Chilies are hot and spicy when consumed or applied topically because of the presence of capsaicin substance and other related substances called Capsaicinoids. To add spiciness to dishes, chilies are used in various cuisines around the globe.
Fresh chilies and dried chilies are used for cooking. Dried chilies are used as whole or as chili flakes or as a powder.
Chilies can be mildly hot to extremely hot. Mildly hot is the Byadagi Chilies from Karnataka and extremely hot is the Bhoot Jolokia grown in North East India.
Habanero chili is from Amazonas region and spread to Mexico.
Ornamental chili plants are grown to give color to the garden. A single plant have fruits in different color simultaneously.
Chilies are propagated by seeds. It can be grown in huge lands or in pots. Plant them in rich soil in full sun. Prune the plant regularly.
Harvest the fruit when shiny and plump or you can choose to let them dry.
Recipes with Chilies as the main ingredient:
Yellu Hasimenasinakayi Chutney
Hirwi Mirchi cha Thecha
Green Chilies Pickle
Mango Green Chilies Pickle
Stuffed Green Chili Pickle
Hari Mirch Ka Khatta Meetha Achaar
Mirchi ke Tipore
Onion Garlic Chilies Coriander Chutney
Steamed Chilies Chutney
Red Chili Garlic Chutney
Mirchi Ka Salan
Green Chilies Sauce
Green Chili Chutney
Onion Chili Sauce