Here is the spectacular bird's eye chili pepper that is seriously hot and spicy. It's a small-sized chili pepper packed with so much heat, that it could instantly spice up the food.
This spicy chili pepper is very popular in the southeast nations. You must know more about this spicy chili pepper if you like spicy food, especially curry dishes.
What is bird's eye chili?
These are also called Thai chili peppers and are widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine. They look smaller in size, about 2-3 inches in length. However, these are hot and could instantly bring a burning sensation.
Like most chili pepper types, this bird's eye chili pepper looks green when they are young and turns to yellow, orange, and red as they gets measured. The young green and 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.
Do not be surprised to find bird's eye chili peppers in purple or black colors.
An intro to bird's eye chili
These are smaller, about 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide. And has a solid green stem over its head. These have an intense heat, with mild peppery flavors.
There is no proper evidence or proof of the origin of the name. However, there is speculation that it is named after its round shape that resembles the bird's eye. On the other hand, the other theory says that these hot peppers inherited their name because of the birds that helped spread seeds around the world.
These chili peppers are available in different parts of the world. The African variety is called peri peri chili peppers. These are also called finger chilies, Thai chilies, and 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; 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 other food items is measured on the 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 other. Hence, the heat level of a pepper highly differs, though they are from identical plants.
Many factors 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 irritates. 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. Discard them before serving for the mild heat and rich flavors.
How to store?
Refrigerate. If you are from my recent visit to your local Asian or 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 wrap them in a cotton cloth, and save them in the grocery section in the refrigerator. It is good to use for up to 10 days if stored this way.
Freeze. Freezing may also be an excellent option to store it for a few months. But note that, when the peppers return 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 to dry. Sun drying or air drying method works efficiently here. Later, you may grind them to a powdered form, crush them into flakes, or make spice blends. This method is suitable for storing for a year or until the next harvesting season.