As one of the hottest chillies in the world, Bird’s eye chillies are commonly used in South Asian cooking. In their small size, they pack a mean punch with a Scoville rating of 50,000-10,000 units. Though they are popular as Thai chillies, Mexico is also a source of their origin. This type of chilli belongs to the species named capsicum annuum. They are primarily found in south-east Asian regions including India. A lot of dishes are made from bird’s eye chilli in cuisines from south India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Khmer region.

A Tiny Hot Chilli:

The bird’s eye chillies are extremely hot, despite their small size. Typically, they are 2-3 cm in size with 10-20 seeds in each pod. They are available in colors like pale green, dark green, white, and red when ripened. This tiny chilli originates from Cambodia, Thailand, The Philippines, Vietnam, and several other South Asian nations. They are nearly 20 times hotter than Jalapenos. A mature chilli has delayed potency due to which you can feel the heat long after you consume it.

Cooking with Birds Eye Chillies:

There are different ways to cook with this chilli depending on your individual taste. If you like mildly spiced or medium chilli in your food, you can either de-seed the bird’s eye chilli or mince it before cooking. During the drying process, the fresh chillies develop a unique taste due to caramelization of sugars. These chillies are dried and used in a lot of Thai dishes.

In the popular Thai curry, they are used alongside yellow and red chillies for a delectable spicy flavour. There are many ways in which these chillies are used in Asian cuisines.

Thai cuisines have a lot of chillies added to popular dishes like Thai salads as well. They are also integral to Vietnamese cuisines where chillies are added to salads, soups, and stir-fried dishes.

What Are the Health Benefits of Birds Eye Chillies?

Throughout the history of more than 9000 years since their discovery, these chillies are used as a natural remedy for many diseases. Some health benefits of these chillies include:

  • By consuming a small amount of fresh or dried chilli every day, you can enjoy a better sleep.
  • They increase the appetite and improve digestion due to presence of a compound called capsaisin. This compound stimulates gut activities and movement of food in the intestinal tract.
  • The capsaicinoids found in this type of chilli decrease the calorie intake and improve the metabolic rate. More calories will be burned every day if you regularly consume this chilli.
  • It reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
  • Bird eye chillies are a medicinal component that possesses strong anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties. They prevent clotting of blood and reduce the possibilities of diseases like tuberculosis.
  • In some cultures, they are traditionally used for treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, and flatulence.

Precautions to Take:

Before cooking with a hot and spicy chilli, it is necessary to take some precautions. If you are not comfortable with a highly pungent chilli, you should avoid it completely. Bird eye chillies are not suitable for people suffering from heartburn and ulcers. It can cause stomach irritation due to an increase in acid levels induced by capsaicin.

When working with these chillies, you should wear rubber gloves. This is because heat chemicals or chilli oils found on this type of chilli can stay on your fingers. They will sting badly if you mistakenly touch the eyes.

You can also use them in your kitchen as per your preferred cooking styles. Put them in sauces and marinades or use as a condiment for any other dish.


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