Saturday, June 10, 2006

Chilly

Chilly for Mythili's "Mistress of spices" event .

It is called Mirapakayalu(telugu) and mirch(hindi)
Botanical name: Capsicum annum L Capsicum frutescens L
Family name: Solanaceae
Commercial part: Green as well as ripe and dried pod (fruit)

I am sure there is no Indian kitchen without Chillies (either green or red). I am glad to participate in this event. I am from Guntur, Andhra pradesh and the main crop for farming in our area is chillies and I never saw my mom buying Chilli powder because thats our major crop in our village. I used to go to farms when they pick the chillies( harvest). I still remember the farms with beautiful green and red chillies hanging down the plants. I am not sure if there are any medicinal properties except kidding sometimes to apply karam(chilly powder) for the wounds.

What is the hottest chilli? According to the Guinness Book of Records it is the Red Savina pepper (a Habanyera cultivar). It was tested at 577,000 SHU. Since then there have been two credible claims of hotter chillis.

Tezpur, Assam is home to the hottest chilli in the world, the Naga Jolokia is smallish and green and rated at 800,000 plus on the Scoville scale. Now that is military or chemical warfare hot !!!
Both of the varieties described are Naga chillies originating from the North West of India. They both seem to be Capsicum chinense, which is also the species that produced the Habanero. The foothills of the Himalayas also produces a smallish pumpkin shaped, orange variety that is reported to be as hot or hotter than the Nagas. Some of the local peoples refer to it as the Sikkimese Cherry Chilli.

How is hotness measured?

The unit of hotness is the SHU or Scoville Hotness Scale. Wilbur Scoville was an eminent American chemist. He devised a test based on repetitively diluting an extract of the pepper with sugar water until the heat is no longer detected. Testing is now more usually performed using accurate laboratory equipment, namely a chromatograph, and equating 15 parts per million (PPM) of capsiacin with an increase of 1 on the Scoville scale.

Till today I didn't know there is so much science involved with the chillies and its hotness scale.All I learnt from my grandfather is if chillies(skin) are thin and have more seeds in it then its spicy. If it is bulky and have thick skin, it is less spicy.Uhm..I learnt something interesting today

More about chillies can be found http://www.agriculture-industry-india.com/spices/chilly.html

6 comments:

Mythili said...

This is great. Nice write-up. Thanks for participating in MoS

Vineela said...

hi smitha,
nice write up.thanks for sharing nice information.
vineela

Revathi said...

I like the name of your blog. Andhrafoodnetwork. First time here.

Cheers
Revathi

Smitha said...

Thankyou all.I am glad that you all liked the entry "Chilly" for MoS.

KrishnaArjuna said...

Good write-up Smitha!

Andhra Pradesh Live said...

hi, nice to see your mirch article. It's nostalgic. I am also son of the soil. I enjoyed all that green MIRAPA TOTALU from khammam district. One should learn from You to tell some thing useful in interesting way.
Srinivas, Delhi, sreenadu@gmail.com