Saturday, 3 October 2009

variety is the spice of life...

Sunday 4th October 2009
there's nothing i love to see more when i'm walking around a local market than a big basket of ripe red chillies. and of course there's no condiment i love more than a nice big squirt of chilli sauce on anything and just about everything. i am addicted to the stuff and if the truth be told it has probably forever ruined my taste buds as since becoming highly addicted to the delightful chilli i find it hard to eat anything that is not super-flavourful unless it has a big blob of chilli sauce on or somewhere near by. chilli truly makes the taste buds explode with such intensity that you either love it or hate it. i fall into the former category and life without chilli is a life without excitement, adventure and mischief! so i wanted to find out a little more about this huge presence in my gourmet habits...

chilli ; One of the wonders that Christopher Columbus brought back from the New World was a member of the Capsicum genus, the chile. Now this pungent pod plays an important role in the cuisines of many countries including Africa, China (Szechuan region), India, Mexico, South America, Spain and Thailand. There are more than 200 varieties of chiles, over 100 of which are indigenous to Mexico. They vary in length from a huge 12 inches to a 1⁄4-inch peewee. Some are long, narrow and no thicker than a pencil while others are plump and globular. Their heat quotient varies from mildly warm to mouth-blistering hot. A chile's color can be anywhere from yellow to green to red to black. Dried chiles are available year-round. The availability of fresh chiles varies according to the variety and season. Choose those with deep, vivid colors; avoid chiles with any sign of shriveling or soft spots. Fresh chiles can be stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. As a general rule, the larger the chile the milder it is. Small chiles are much hotter because, proportionally, they contain more seeds and veins than larger specimens. Those seeds and membranes can contain up to 80 percent of a chile's capsaicin, the potent compound that gives chiles their fiery nature. Since neither cooking nor freezing diminishes capsaicin's intensity, removing a chile's seeds and veins is the only way to reduce its heat. After working with chiles, it's extremely important to wash your hands thoroughly; failure to do so can result in painful burning of the eyes or skin (wearing rubber gloves will remedy this problem). Chiles are used to make a plethora of by-products including chili paste, tabasco sauce, cayenne and the dried red pepper flakes commonly found in pizzerias. Chiles are cholesterol free and low in calories and sodium. They're a rich source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid, potassium and vitamin E.

i think under benefits, it might have been important to add one more - general all-round natural body cleanser...after a night of hard-core spicy chilli eating, you sure ain't gonna need to go for no colon cleansing!!
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