Spicy chillies add new layers of flavour to your favourite dishes. When looking to buy chillies, there are a few things you should keep in mind so you can be sure to get the best peppers to complement your recipe.
1. Check the Scale
The compound that makes chillies hot, capsaicin, is present in varying amounts in different chilli varieties. It can even range greatly in a single variety, depending on the growing conditions and time of harvest. Fortunately, there is a guide called the Scoville heat scale that ranks chillies by heat. The higher the number on the scale, the hotter the pepper, with the hottest peppers coming in at over 50,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
2. Consider the Recipe
Although it is possible to mix and match peppers quite a bit, you do need to consider the recipe when choosing a chilli. A Mexican salsa often tastes better with a jalapeno or habanero pepper, while a Vietnamese-style dish may work much better if you opt for a bird's eye pepper. Each cuisine tends to favour different types of peppers, so check a few recipes for pepper recommendations before making your final decision on what will work best in your dish.
3. Fresh Vs. Dried
You can find chilli peppers for sale fresh or dried. As a general rule, dried peppers will have more heat because the capsaicin is more concentrated once the pepper dries. Many Asian inspired recipes, along with quite a few Mexican style recipes, call for dried peppers. You can substitute fresh if desired, but you may need to adjust the amount to reach the desired heat level. Another benefit of dried chilis is that you can store them for months at a time without any worries about spoilage.
4. Maximise Heat
It's possible to get a dud pepper that isn't as hot as you wished it was. This is especially true in the case of long chilli peppers, one of the more readily available types in Australia. To maximise heat and flavour, roast the pepper under a broiler just until the skin begins to blacken and blister. Then, simmer the peppers in a small amount of water or broth for 20 minutes or so. For the most heat, don't remove the seeds. Use both the pepper and the broth in your recipe for a nuanced but spicy flavour.
Don't be afraid to experiment with spicy chillies. Contact a supplier to buy chillies for your favourite recipe today.