The Red Chillies of India


The very taste of this spice can burn your tongue; redden your ears, enough to make you gaping for water.


Red Chillies have been used in Indian traditional cooking for a very long time.


The Indian traditional foods have always been associated with lots and lots of spices, red chillies being the king of all.


A Marwari cannot think of his karhi without chillies, neither can a Guajarati without khandavi. The Sambar will have no pleasure without chilli tempering nor a Bihari eat his lunch without a green chilly. Red chillies have a certain delightful taste that brings mouth-watering flavours to Indian cooking.


The red chilly chutney mixed with garlic is a hot favourite of average Malayali household. While trying one of these gave me a burnt tongue, I would mention. I would surely suggest the red chilly sauce made especially to accompany the hot and steamy Momos.

Chillies have been used widely being in Mexican and South American cuisines. What would a pizza taste without jalapenos a type of chili. Varieties of cocktails have been invented with this beautiful spice.



The substances that give chilli peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin.


The "heat" of chilli peppers is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU), which is the number of times a chilli extract must be diluted in water for it to lose its heat. The Guinness World Record assigned the hottest red chillies to the Naga Jolokia (from north-eastern India), measuring over 1,000,000 SHU.


The hottest part of the chilli is the membrane and the seeds attached to it that once removed can reduce the heat.


They also have remedial effects to many aches and pains. Dry chilli is considered to be an eliminator of flatulence. If powdered red chilli is applied to the part affected by a dog bite, immediately it minimizes the affect of the poison. It also acts as an antiseptic by preventing the formation of puss in the wound. Boil water, mixed with one spoonful of powdered chilli and one spoonful of salt in it. If this hot solution is drunk, it is beneficial in cholera. Boil water, in which powdered red chilli has been mixed, sprinkle this water on those areas where bed bugs are present, bed bugs will be eliminated. Chillies seeds, when swallowed with hot water, cures stomach ache due to cold.




It is also very common sight to find red chillies hung together with lemon at the rear of a local auto rickshaw or outside Indian homes. Often dry chillies are burnt, a common superstition to drive away evil spirits.


Thus this spice holds a very important position in the average Indian household.