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5 Indian Chilies With GI Tags Well-known For Their Flavour

India now produces 25% of the world's total chilli output. Did you know, though, that the humble chile is not indigenous to our country? Here's 5 indian chillies with GI tags that are known for their flavour.

Chintu Das
'Bhut Jolokia'
'Bhut Jolokia'

Most Asians, particularly Indians, have historically prided themselves on their exceptional tolerance for spicy food, especially when chilies are added. Indian cuisine's spicy quotient is unquestionably among the best, thanks to its abundance of chilies. But did you know that chilies aren't native to this part of the world?

Chilies, also known as 'Mirchi' in numerous Indian languages, are a South American fruit that was initially grown circa 3500 BC in Mexico. It was claimed to be one of many items that finally made their way to the rest of the globe after the colonisation of America in 1493.

Around 400 years ago, Portuguese traders introduced chili to India and numerous other nations in the subcontinent. Previously, Indian recipes employed the local black pepper. Vasco Da Gama's 16th-century expedition to India through the beaches of Goa resulted in the introduction of chiles to this region, and then to the rest of South India. Northern India took longer to adopt it into their cuisine, and it was only until Maratha King Shivaji's army came north to oppose the Mughals that they were able to do so.

Today, this unintentional union of chiles and Indian food is closer to a match made in heaven. Chilies are recognised for their therapeutic characteristics, which include assisting in digestion, weight reduction, and heart health, reducing allergies, and alleviating joint problems and migraines, among other things.

Here are different kinds of chiles that you must try in Indian cuisine:

Bhut Jolokia

The ghost pepper, also known as Bhut Jolokia in Assam and widely farmed and utilised in Northeast India, is a sure victor when it comes to heat. Guinness World Records named it the world's hottest chilli pepper in 2007, and it's 170 times hotter than Tobasco sauce. The Scoville Heat Units (SHU) are a measurement of chilli pepper heat, and the bhut jolokia has almost one million SHUs!

Bhut jolokia is frequently combined with dried or fermented fish and pig. One of my personal favourites is to add it to a serving of a popular drink known as a Bloody Mary, which gives an unexpected twist.

Khola Chilli

This is most likely where it all began, with the Portuguese bringing a promise of exquisite culinary fusion to the coasts of Goa. This vivid red chilli is grown on the rocky slopes of Canacona, Goa, and is recognised for its flavour and ability to add colour to meals.

It's used in practically every traditional Goan meal, and it's particularly well-known as a fundamental component in handmade condiments like mango pickles and red chilli sauce. Using Khola chilli to manufacture the famous recheado paste, which is used as a stuffing in fish, is one of the most well-known applications.

Guntur Chilli

The pride and pleasure of Andhra cuisine, the Guntur chilli, is another kind famed for its spiciness and flavour. Although it is mostly grown in Guntur, Madhya Pradesh has produced a number of variations of this chilli. However, the extensive usage of Guntur chilli in Andhra cuisines is undeniable, with the heightened spiciness known to produce tears of delight.

This is one of India's most popular chilli kinds, accounting for around 30% of the country's total chilli exports.

Byadagi Chilli

Another South Indian food treasure, the Byadagi chilli from Karnataka is a must-try if you prefer colour over spice in your chiles. It is a staple of Udupi cuisine and is named after the town of Bydagi in the Haveri district of Karnataka.

This crinkly chilli is comparable to Paprika in colour and flavour, and it's the finest chilli to pair with the Guntur chilli for making the delicious Mangalorean cuisine known as Chicken Ghee Roast.

Bird’s Eye Chilli

This little kind of chile, grown in portions of Northeast India, delivers a significant spicy punch, making it one of India's few spiciest chilli varieties. In other regions of Southeast Asia, this chilli is known as Thai chilies, and it is utilized not only in cooking but also in the preparation of sinful pickles and chutneys.

A word of caution when sampling any chutney or pickle produced with this chilli: just use half a spoon at a time. This is one to savour in little doses, especially if you haven't yet mastered your spice tolerance.

India's passion for spices has made it one of the world's leading producers and exporters of dried, raw, and powdered chilies. Andhra Pradesh is the major source of chilies in India, accounting for 25% of global output, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.

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