Pantry 101: The Spice of Life (The Foodie Magazine, Feb 2014)

To spice up the love month, we have decided to feature the spice of life and Indonesia’s most favorite vegetable, the chili. Red and green chilies or peppers have long been considered to give an extra kick to boost both the flavor and the eater’s mood for centuries. Here we feature some of the famous chilies along with their Scoville scale ratings that determine their heat level.

bellpepper

Bell pepper
Scofield Scale: 0 (none)

Who doesn’t love these wonderful fruits available in so many colors? The bell peppers are not only rich with nutrients but also possess that crunchy texture and sweetness that we all love to have in our dishes. The red bell pepper is simply the best you can get and is the most mature yet more nutritious among its yellow or green counterparts. Recent studies show that it has over than 30 different members of carotenoid nutrients and vitamins.

Peperoncini

Peperoncini
Scofield Scale: 0 – 500 (mild)

Considered as one of the wonders brought to Europe during early colonization era in South America, peperoncini has since become popularly used in rustic Italian dishes or for instance the famous spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino. Its mild heat level and sweet note are often used to lend more flavors in antipasti, pizza, or salad and sandwich.

Jalapeno

Jalapeño
Scofield Scale: 2,500 – 10,000 (medium)

Easily the famous pepper found in American and Mexican cuisines. Referred to as huachinango in Mexico, the pepper naturally develops scars in form of small brown lines and the more scars the more heat level for you to expect. Aside from famously made into chipotle (smoked jalapeño), it is often made into juice – believed to be a remedy for allergies and cardiovascular problems.

Serrano

Serrano
Scofield Scale: 10,000 – 25,000 (hot)

Native to mountainous regions of Mexico, these small peppers transform to red color as they mature. Serrano is often used in sauces, marinades, or salsas, and considered as the hotter substitute for jalapeño. A rule of thumb, the smaller the size then the hotter it gets. Just sharing a personal experience here – the dried version is also viciously spicy.

Bird's eye chili

Bird’s eye chili
Scofield Scale: 50,000 – 100,000 (very hot)

Undisputedly, it is the pride of Southeast Asians and especially here in Indonesia where it is named as cabe rawit. While it may appear small and harmless but make no mistake, it packs a knockout punch for those who are not used to it. Cabe rawit is applied in many recipes here from simple fritters (or gorengan) to even more sophisticated dishes.

Habanero

Habanero
Scofield Scale: 100,000 – 350,000 (exceptionally hot)

Undisputedly one of the hottest chili among the naturally bred for commercial use, habanero is a native Mexican and commonly used as an accompaniment in salsa as it possessed also the fruity and floral aromas, making it less notorious somehow. Aside from the heat, it boasts also nutritional values. Even so, you might want to think again before bracing yourself with its KO punch.

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE February 2014 edition

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