Chilly can add a kick to any meal and blow the tastebuds away.
If you want to liven up a dish or put a bit of fire in your belly, reach for the chillis. A type of capsicum, they can be green, yellow, orange, red or black and there are more than 200 known varieties. All differ in levels of hotness so you need to choose your chilli wisely. Make a mistake and you could be in for a long night. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the chilli, the more potent it is.
Capsaicin is the ingredient that gives a chilli its heat. There’s even an official scale to measure the pungency (spicy heat) of chillis, known as The Scoville scale. At one end is the sweet pepper, which scores 0 on the scale while at the other end you have the blow-your-head-off Habanero (used in sauces and for basting), which can score more than 350,000!
India is the world’s biggest producer, consumer and exporter of chillis. Guntur in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is the hot chilli centre, producing 30 per cent of all the fiery vegetables grown in India. Chillis are also widely used in Mexican and Jamaican cooking.
Versatile, they can be used to spice up salads, meat dishes, fish and even drinks. Chillis also work well in sweet dishes too: a little chilli helps to cut through the richness of chocolate, for instance.
Add to this the health benefits – they’re loaded with Vitamin C, can fight inflammation, help lower blood pressure and help you burn fat and lose weight – and there’s every reason to put chillis in your shopping basket each week.
To showcase how a bit of chilli can add some spice to your life, Chef Manoj Radi, executive chef of The Yellow Chilli Oman, shares with Y readers his recipe for a gastronomic delight of a Three Chilli Potato Salad.
Chef Manoj says: “The recipe highlights how simplistic yet innovative food preparation can be and can stand out in this ever-evolving culinary world. This is something we are trying to capture in The Yellow Chilli restaurant.”
Try this delicious recipe from Chef Manoj and let the chillis do the talking:
* Family Features
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Scrub and wash the baby potatoes well, prick with a fork, apply the oil. Roast the potatoes in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until done.
In a bowl, put in the lemon juice, sugar, salt, red chilli flakes, green chillis, coloured pepper and tomato ketchup.
Mix well. Add the potatoes and toss. Serve the salad garnished with coriander leaves.