Ever wondered why Indian food is so flavorful? And why every Indian craves for some amount of spiciness in their food?
Well… While India is home to a plethora of spices and herbs, with every state having its own special mix of spices, there are also different types of chillies that are grown in each region that adds the ultimate punch to regional dishes.
Arguably the hottest ingredient in the kitchen! Some kinds of chillies rank mild on the heat scale whereas a few innocent looking can get you clenching your fists and making your eyes water.
Although chillies were introduced to India by the Portuguese way back in the 15 th century, we have made them our very own like everything else!
And what’s more is - We all have a preference when it comes to enjoying chillies, be in the form of a tempering, pickle or even raw!
So here is a little red hot scoop on the 10 well known types of chillies in India.
Kashmiri: Originally from Kashmir. These dry red chillies are long in size and impart a beautiful red colour to the dish. It is popular throughout India and is commonly known for its minimal spiciness. These are easily available in the powdered form as well.
Jwala: These fresh green chillies are one of the most common varieties in India. Originally native to Gujarat, these chillies are quite hot. Both green and red varieties are used, the green ones are picked younger while the red ones are left to dry naturally and then picked.
Guntur: Guntur Sannam chillies hail from Andhra Pradesh and are known globally. These chillis in powdered form are exported to Asia, Canada and Europe. This chilly is what gives Andhra cuisines the extra spicy touch.
Mundu: This is yet another kind of chilli grown in Andhra Pradesh. It is also found in Tamil Nadu where it is known as Ramnad Mundu. They are red and plump with very thin skins. They are less spicy compared to Guntur variety and enhances the flavours in a dish.
Kanthari chilli: These chillies are grown in Kerala and are also known as bird’s eye chili because birds love to pick the ripe chili. These chillies become white when they mature and they are hot and lend a good flavor to dishes.
Mathania: These chillies are grown in Jodhpur - a gateway to the Thar Desert of India. These chillies are fiery hot and spicy enough to make one tear up within seconds! These chillies lend a rich colour and flavour to the dish it is being used in.
Byadgi chillies: This particular variety is known for its deep red colour and mild yet spicy flavour. These chillies are categorized into two types - Dabbi and Kaddi. Dabbi Chillies are small, have lots of seeds and are less spicy compared to the Kaddi type. On the other hand, Kaddi are much longer, with lesser seeds and hot.
These chillies are named after the place Sankeshwar, situated close to Kolhapur. These are orange in colour and used in coastal cuisines such as Goan Saraswat, Koli and Malvani. These chillies are commonly used for making the red chilli powder sold in the market.
Reshampatti: These chillies are generally used in Gujarati food. It’s yet another one of the spicier chilli options but lends just enough flavour without overpowering the entire dish. They are short, conical and of a deep maroon colour. They can be stored fresh for as long as two years if a rock of asafetida is added in a jar of the chillies.
Bhut jolokia: It would be unfair to talk about Indian chillies without mentioning this chilli. Also known as the ghost pepper this is known as one of the hottest chillies in the world for the longest time. It is commonly found in the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam and Manipur. Bhut Jolokia mainly is used in sprucing up curries, pickles and chutneys.
Chillies are a fascinating condiment in itself. It is a known fact that chillies are extremely crucial for several cuisines across the globe, especially Indian food! Wrapped in these little pockets comes a plethora of flavour that adds magic to almost every preparation, uplifting the dish. As no dish is complete without a little dish of this spicy flavour. So come enjoy the dishes at Aahaar that are spruced up by chillies for a flavour packed meal.