Here is the spectacular bird's eye chili pepper that is seriously hot and spicy. It's a small sized chili pepper that's packed with so much heat, that could instantly spice up the food.
This spicy chili pepper is very popular in the southeast nations. If you like spicy food and especially curry dishes, definitely you need to know more about this spicy chili pepper.
What are bird's eye chili?
These are also called Thai chili peppers and widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine. They look smaller in size about 2-3 inches in size. However, these are really hot that could instantly bring a burning sensation.
Like most of the chili pepper types, this bird's eye chili pepper looks green in color when they are young and turns to yellow, orange, and red as they get measured. Both the young green peppers and the mature red peppers are widely used in Southeast Asian cuisines.
To give you a better idea, fresh green bird's eye peppers are used to make Thai green curry and fresh red ones are used to make Thai red curry paste, in general.
And do not be surprised to find bird's eye chili pepper in purple or in black colors.
An intro to bird's eye chili
These are smaller in size about 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide. And has a strong green stem over its head. These have an intense heat, with mild peppery flavors.
There is no proper evidence or proof for the origin of the name. However, there is a speculation that it is named after its round shape that looks similar to the bird's eye. On the other hand, the other theory says that, these hot peppers inherited its name because of the birds that helped spreading seeds around the world.
These chili peppers are available in different kinds in different parts of the world. The African verity is called peri peri chili peppers. And these are also called finger chilies, Thai chilies, Kantari chilies.
How does this taste?
These are super hot. While tasting at first, you will feel the complex but subtle peppery flavor. Then the heat slowly spreads throughout the palate, subsequently within a couple of moments the heat becomes stronger and may persist for about 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the individual's heat tolerance.
You may feel the heat as fiery and concentrated, even after you wash your mouth with water.
What’s the Scoville scale unit of bird's eye chili pepper?
The heat level of peppers or any other food items are measured in Scoville scale and termed in scoville heat units.
And this bird's eye chili pepper’s heat ranges between 50,000 to 100,000 SHU. Every pod is different and every variety is different, hence the heat level of a pepper highly differs though they are from identical plants.
There are many factors that determine the heat of a pepper pod, including the weather, the soil condition, and the watering methods. So always be careful when handling both hot and moderately hot chili peppers.
The oily substance called capsaicin present in the inner part of the peppers is easily transferable to the skin and thereby causes irritation. In recipes. Fabulous to use them as minced, chopped, or slit, depending on the spice and flavor requirement.
While making simple curries or chilies, add them as a whole and cook them for about 5 minutes. And discard them before serving for the mild heat and rich flavors.
How to store?
Refrigerate. If you are from my recent visit from your local Asian store or an Indian store, have a batch of fresh Thai chili peppers. And want to store them for your future uses.
The first choice of storage that you may consider is refrigeration. Leave the stem(if any) on and wrap them in a cotton cloth, and save them in the grocery section in the refrigerator. It is good to use upto 10 days, if stored this way.
Freeze. Freezing may also be a good option if you want to store it for a couple of months. But make a note that, when the peppers return back to room temperature, there will not be much change in the flavor and heat profile. But it will lose its shape and the inner part of the pepper will turn black.
Dried. The thin skin and the wall make it easier for drying. Sun drying or air drying method works efficiently here. Later you may grind them to a powdered form, or crush to flakes, or make spice blends. This method is good to store for a year, or until the next harvesting season.