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Chili is the most valuable spice of the world and is gaining its popularity throughout the world, and now it is used in more and more cuisines of the world. India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of chilies, which is 40% of the total world production. Chili production requires sunny, tropical, humid conditions with a good amount of rainfall. We have grown a lot of chilies in our kitchen garden when I was in Kenya. We had around 25 plants of 3-4 feet high and were producing a lot of green chilies, being small as a family we were not able to consume a lot, so were leaving the chilies on the plants itself to ripen. When their colour turned red, I used to collect and dry them in the hot sunny area of my garden, and later was grinding in my dry grinder to make red chili powder, which I used in my kitchen.
There are many different types, colors, shapes and mild to a very hot pungent taste of the chilies are available in the world. This spice – chili and chili powder are used in many cuisines of the world. Raw chilies are normally green in colour, but ripened chilies are yellow, orange and red in colour. Since it is impossible to tell how spicy a chili is just by looking at it, you will have to taste it to get an idea. Once you know how spicy it is then you can use it according to your taste.
In Indian cuisine, chili powder is used from ages, some chili powders are giving only a red colour to the recipe and are not very spicy like Kashmiri chili powder, it is more or less like paprika. But some chili powders are very hot, and people use it depending on their taste and the requirement of the recipe. In Southern states of India, whole red dried chili is used a lot in tempering many recipes. Red chili flakes/crushed chili is also used a lot in the Indian cuisine throughout India. Some people have the misconception that Indian food is very spicy, but that is not the case, yes, we do use different types of chilies in its different forms but how spicy the food absolutely depends on individuals choice. Green chilies are a good source of vitamin C; so many people eat raw green chilies with their food.
Some people think that chili pepper is consumed only to put fire on your tongue or to get tears in your eyes but the surprising fact is that chilies do have a lot of health benefits like natural pain relief, boosting immunity, clearing congestion, preventing stomach ulcers, and reducing weight. Check this website for detailed study of all this and a lot of useful information about chilies.
According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes by which all food can be categorized: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Pungent taste is hot and spicy as found in chili pepper and astringent is dry and light as found in popcorn. Ayurveda suggests that all these tastes should be included in every meal for optimum health and to get initial spark to the digestive system. These six tastes satisfy each of the major dietary building blocks and these six tastes also guide our body to accomplish its nutritional needs. Each taste feeds our body, mind, senses and spirit in its own unique way. Ayurveda is a traditional healing system of India, which gave us yoga and breathing exercises and still successfully practiced in India. Check this website-
Chili powder is eaten by one-quarter of world population every day, in all countries all over the globe. But chili powder was completely unknown to the most of the world until Christopher Columbus discovered America. Check this website which explains very nicely that of course, Columbus was not looking for chilies, but was looking for a trade route. This website further explained that, until well after the middle ages, almost all through the world, pepper travelled from the Malabar coast, India to Europe and then to America.
Coming to the recipe, this is my mom’s recipe as it is in which she used mustard oil. I get mustard oil from the local Indian grocery store, so I have also used mustard oil, but you can use any other oil instead if you prefer. Mustard oil is used for cooking in Punjab and many other Northern States of India. This is a simple and quick recipe which can be enjoyed using mild to hot chilies basing on your taste.
  • 200 grams long green chilies (around 25-30)
  • 20 grams of black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 20 grams of fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 10 grams of fenugreek seeds (methi )
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used mustard oil)
  • 10 grams chili powder (optional) *
* Normally these green chilies are not spicy/hot at all, so if you need some spice in this pickle you can add some additional chilli powder
  • Mix the fennel, mustard and fenugreek seeds and grind it coarsely in a dry spice grinder.
  • Wash and dry the chilies or wipe with a kitchen towel.
  • Slit the chilies in the middle lengthwise.
  • In the already ground spices, mix salt and chili powder and fill ( stuff) through the slit in all the chilies and leave aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, when hot add all the chilies, mix slowly and cover it after 5 minutes add the remaining spice mixture on top of the chilies.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes till the chilies are cooked and changed in colour.
  • Cool it and serve with meals as a condiments/pickle/chutney

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