The drama of chili

Fresh red chili looming over dried up dark red chili

The other day I blithely told you to use some chili. As if chili is easy-peasy.

Cooking with chili is always a drama. How hot will your dish be? It all depends on the behaviour of the fiery and unpredictable ones.

The big chili in the picture was fresh. I had never come across it before so I had no previous experience of its performance.

In contrast, the tiny dark red ones (see pic again) were dried, so easily available. They were my mates. Or were they?

Therein lies the drama. A half chili could make a dish. A whole one might ruin it. Friend or foe?

There’s the added uncertainty of how much food you are trying to flavour. Take dried chilis. One could be insignificant in a stew for seven.

But at least dried chilis are constant in their fashion. After a few times of using the wizened but easily-stored ones, you can control the spiciness of your dish.

How did tonight’s drama end?

The half of FRESH chili, sliced in a stir-fry (mushroom, onions and sprouted seeds) was pretty tame. Poor thing. It was a supermarket and non-organic chili so didn’t stand a chance. Bred and sprayed to look good rather than taste real.

As for the half of a DRIED chili (sliced thin), it was mighty hot in some mouthfuls of stir-fry. I tell you, those dried-up devils pack a punch.

3 responses to “The drama of chili

  1. What a fab picture! I love the contrast of the red and black.


  2. Thank you! That makes up for Henry Hoffman’s comment on ‘About Elisabeth Winkler’, saying some of my pics let my blog down…Sniff. (And only the other day another visitor said they were good. Double sniff). However, I think Henry (a photographer, as it turns out) is right about the title picture. It is a bit rubbish. I must borrow Mike’s digital with the “macro” feature (perfect for foodie close-ups) and Get Snapping!


  3. I love chillies!

    The key thing to remember is that the smaller they are, the hotter they are…something my friend forgot when cooking dinner for his parents! He put 7/8 birds eye chillies into the dish – they’re one of the hottest types


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