Friday, August 03, 2007

5 tips for cooking with chilies

During my vacation in Thailand this year, I attended a cooking class. In addition to cooking three delicious dishes, we also received some useful advice on common ingredients in Thai food. Here are some insider's tips for cooking with chilies.

By guest writer Susanne Koch

1. The smaller a chili is, the hotter it will be. Thai people, especially in the south, can devour several whole, small chilies per person per meal. Heat of this kind is an acquired taste, though.

2. Beware of the seeds! The seeds and membranes inside the chili is by far the hottest part, so if you want the aroma of chili pepper without the scorching heat, slice the chili lenghtwise and remove the seeds.

3. There are a couple of other ways to add just a little chili to your dish. One is to put a whole chili into the pan while cooking and remove it before serving. Another, slightly hotter option is to cut the chili in half and add it to your dish.

4. If you are planning on removing the seeds from one of the fierce little Thai chilies, you might want to wear latex gloves. The 'hot stuff' will stick to your fingers for a day or to and if you handle contact lenses or put a finger in your eye to scratch an itch, it will be very unpleasant.

5. If you want the aroma of chilies and the bright red color to perk up your dish without all of the fire, use a larger chili. The larger kinds of chili are not so fierce.

All that said, don't too timid. You will soon get a feeling for how much heat the little fruits pack. And your taste buds will get accustomed too, so soon you will be adding more heat to your dishes and thinking nothing of it.

Susanne Koch is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. She blogs about search engines and search engine optimization at Susanne loves to travel and blogs about her journeys at Susi's Souvenirs. You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.


fressack said...

It is NOT the seeds that contain capsaicin, which causes the painreaction called "heat". That is a cooking mysterywhich is even used by highranking professional chefs.
It is just the menbranes. And the size of a chili does not necessarily tell its heat.

Rasa Malaysia said...

The picture is truly outstanding...something so simple yet the picture turned out phenomenal. :)

khunying said...

I came from Had Yai, south of Thailand, and I think you are right; the smallest chili that called "prik key nu" is very hot.