Chilli Birds Eye whole are one of Thailand's hottest chillies. On the Scoville scale, they rate between 50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units. That's over 20 times hotter than a jalapeno but three times less spicy than a habanero. The heat can sneak up on you as the mature red Bird's Eye chilli can have a delayed potency, with the heat building as you eat the dish, and then lingering long after you stop eating. If your taste tends toward medium or mild-spiced foods, try de-seeding them, then mincing for less heat. Dried chillies taste rather different from the fresh variety due to the caramelisation of the sugars that occurs during the drying process. Red chillies are a central ingredient in Thai cuisine, but Thai cooks also use green and yellow chillies, hence the three famous colours of Thai curry: green curry, red curry, and yellow curry. Each Thai dish is usually made with a certain chilli, although you can always easily substitute red chillies if you can't find green or yellow. Peppers of all sizes and shapes can be found in Thai cooking, including sweet bell peppers
. The full range of chillies that The Spice People stock can be found here
All chillies contain capsaicin which is known to have many health benefits including boosting the immune system, eliminating inflammation and aiding in weight loss.
How to use:
- Rehydrate in boiling water before using
- Chop finely and add into the beginning of cooking your curries, stews or rice dishes
- Due to their intense heat, only 1 or 2 are needed at a time
- Add to cool oil and bring gently to low heat to make a chilli oil
- Grind in a mortar and pestle before adding to a dish to integrate the flavour seamlessly
Caution When Preparing Bird's Eye Chillies:
You may want to wear rubber gloves when working with these chillies, especially if you are a contact lens wearer. The chilli oil and heat chemical, capsaicin, can stay on your fingers for several hours and really sting when you take out your lenses or touch your eyes.
You're in for a painful surprise if you didn't wear gloves. Also, the hot chilli chemical (capsaicin) will stay on your contact lenses and sting you again the next day.