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What Is a Red Chili Pepper, and How Hot Are They

Red chili peppers

What Is a Red Chili Pepper, and How Hot Are They

Red chili peppers, native to South America, India, Thailand, and several other locales, have a reputation for their heat level; but how hot is this type of nightshade in reality? If you want to expand your cooking to achieve new levels of deliciousness, knowing more about your ingredients is essential.

Red chili peppers are a variety of pepper that is slender and smaller than many other types of peppers. Let’s explore how to utilize their spice and see a few tips for cooking with them. Then, we’ll introduce you to high-quality hot sauces that can make your cooking more vibrant and spicy with less effort. You’ll be a pro at making spicy dishes in no time. 

Are Red Chili Peppers Hot?

If you’re cooking with Thai, Spanish, or South American chili peppers for the first time, it’s an excellent idea to know more about their spiciness before you stock up. Thanks to the Scoville Heat Scale, you can easily compare the heat from different peppers to see which kind you might like to use in your dishes or dips.

The Scoville Scale

In the 1970s, Wilbur Scoville developed a standard scale to rank different peppers and understand how their spiciness compares. This scale begins with bell peppers at the bottom with a score of 0 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). 

The middle of the Scoville Scale contains peppers such as habanero peppers and serrano peppers, which each maintain a moderate-to-bold amount of heat. At one point, ghost peppers (AKA the naga jolokia) were considered the hottest pepper by the Scoville heat scale. Since the discovery of the Carolina reaper in 2013, the ghost pepper has been dethroned. 

On the Scoville Scale, chili peppers rank at 100,000-350,000 SHUs, meaning they have the potential to be quite spicy. They contain capsaicin, a compound that creates that feeling of intense heat. If you’re picking out chili peppers from the grocery store, you can have some control over how hot your chili peppers are. 

When choosing your peppers, keep in mind that the larger they are, the milder they’ll tend to taste. On the other hand, the smaller the chili peppers are, the hotter they may be.

Are There Different Ways To Eat Chili Peppers?

Once you have chili peppers in your possession, you may wonder about the different ways you can prepare and eat them. Keep reading to see the many ways to enjoy this kind of pepper.

Chili Powder

One way you can utilize chili peppers in your cooking is by using chili powder. During your grocery shopping trips, you may have passed pre-packaged chili powder on the spice aisle, but did you know you can make it in your own kitchen?

To make chili powder, follow these steps:

  1. Blanch peppers and give them an ice bath. 
  2. Dehydrate the chili peppers.
  3. Grind the peppers into powder.
  4. Use the powder on your dishes and enjoy the flavor.

Dried Chiles

You can also enjoy chili peppers in your dishes by drying them out. Dried chili peppers make an excellent pair for Mexican, Asian, or Caribbean cuisine, and drying them is easy. Simply follow the first step in making chili powder to have crisp dried chili peppers ready to use. 

Cooked Chili Peppers

You can also cook chili peppers to use in your dishes. When cooking them, remember to select the size that corresponds to the level of spice you want to add to your meal. Pick larger chili peppers for slightly subdued spice, and select smaller ones for more intense spice.

Ideas for Using Chilis in Your Meals

Ready to get your creativity flowing in the kitchen to create delicious meals with this hot pepper variety? If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry; here are a few ideas for using your red chilis and other peppers to make delightfully flavorful meals.

Prepare Salsa

Including peppers in a tomato-based chipotle salsa is a fantastic way to vary the flavor profile so that every bite is impressive. Many people enjoy adding diced-cooked jalapeños, habaneros, and bell peppers to their food processor, along with diced tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and onion. 

Blend the salsa to your desired thickness for a dip that’s addictive and delicious. Pair it with chips for an excellent party snack.

Cook Up a Curry

Curry is an excellent, flavor-packed dish that can include bold ancho chili peppers. Bring out the coconut milk for a creamy, spicy dish that satisfies every time. Its vibrant red color makes it a perfect fit for any foodie’s Instagram page.

Tips for Using Chilis in Your Cooking

Cooking with chilis and other peppers can give your tried and true recipes new life. If you want to use chilis in your dinners, dips, or other dishes, there are a few general guidelines that may help you achieve the best result. Keep reading to see ways to enhance your peppers when cooking with them. 

  1. Add a little at a time. Chilis like the Scotch bonnet and Anaheim tend to taste milder and more fruity before they are cooked, and when heated, their flavor and spice get bolder. Be careful not to overdo it in your recipes since a little bit can go a long way.

  2. Try cooking chilis in oil. When you sauté chilis in oil, the spice and flavor transfer into the oil. You can use this chili oil for cooking other elements of your entree to infuse them with chili flavor. It’s an excellent way to enhance your food without adding too much heat to the equation.

  3. Pick ripe peppers for more heat. If you have a garden where you grow peppers and other vegetables, this tip may apply to you. Allowing peppers to ripen on the vine before picking them can ensure you have flavorful, hot peppers.

The Best Ways To Add Spice to Your Dishes

Let’s say you’ve been craving spicier meals lately. If you have a desire for hot foods that are vibrant with flavor and spice, there are several ways to make your desires a reality. 

Let’s explore the best ways to upgrade your soups, noodles, and more with spice to create eating experiences that excite your taste buds. 

Use Chillies

As we have discussed, one of the most well-known options for adding spice to your recipes is to use peppers. You can mix up familiar recipes by selecting hot chili peppers or make dishes milder with poblano peppers to create a fresh dish every time.

Use a Powdered Seasoning

If you’re in a hurry, one way to add flavor to your meals quickly is to use powdered seasoning. For example, chili powder and red pepper flakes are two well-known spices that can enhance your recipes.

Stock Your Kitchen With High-Quality Red Chile Hot Sauce

Using quality hot sauces to elevate your meals is one of the best options, whether you're in a rush or not. In many cases, you may not have the time or energy to devote to dicing and sauteing all the ingredients needed to make a perfect tabasco-style hot sauce. Choosing a pre-made sauce with authentic, delicious ingredients like paprika and dried chilies can help you make your favorite spicy dishes taste even more outstanding.

Enhance Your Meals With TRUFF Sauces

Experienced home chefs and novices could both benefit from upgrading their sauce collections periodically. If you're ready to stock your kitchen with brilliant sauces, here are a few essentials to begin with. 

TRUFF Hot Sauces

If you’re a lover of all things spicy, adding luxury hot sauce to your collection is one of the best moves to make in your career as a home chef. When you opt for TRUFF sauces in your kitchen, you can select from the following to curate your meals to your tastes:

Elevate Your Cooking With Luxury Sauces

Looking for ways to spice up your kitchen? Adding fresh chili peppers to your meals is an excellent way to perfect your cooking skills with exciting ingredients. When you want added spice in your dinners, lunches, and other dishes, TRUFF sauces add all the spice you crave.

Sources:

Capsicum annuum | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

Michigan Fresh: Hot Peppers | Michigan State University

The Story of Chile Peppers | New Mexico State University

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