dried chillies

Common name: lal mirch

Binomen: Capsicum annum

Dried chillies are pungent, hot, spicy, intense and sometimes smokey. They give heat, colour and vibrant flavour to a dish. They tend to be hotter than fresh chillies.

Drying a chilli reduces its weight and can increase the relative hotness of the dried chilli by as much as ten times. Slowly drying chillies, such as in the oven or a food dehydrator, increases the rich and sweet flavour characteristics of chillies. Dried chillies have a more intense flavour and heat than fresh chillies.

Whole dried pods retain more flavour than crushed pods or powder. Coarsely ground dried chillies or chilli flakes do not usually feature in this cuisine.

Dried chillies are usually reconstituted in liquid before use or are ground into a spice mix. In Goan cuisine, the dried chillies are often soaked in vinegar, which intensifies their colouring and adds another dimension to their flavour.

Chilli powder is made from these dried chillies.

Dried chillies are best sourced from an Indian grocer or spice merchant. Likewise, chilli powder is available from these Indian grocers and spice merchants. The fluffier the powder the fresher it is likely to be.

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