Add a bit of bite to your meals this month with spicy chillies.
Chillies are part of the capsicum family and are readily available in supermarkets. There are more than 200 varieties known, but here are some of the most common: Long chillies (serrano chillies) are sold as both red and green chillies, are quite mild and are the most commonly-found variety in supermarkets. Jalapeno chillies are oval-shaped, spicy green Mexican chillies. Birdseye chillies, also known as Thai chillies, are tiny and extremely hot. They’re found in both green and red, with green being the hottest. There are also many varieties of whole dried chillies to choose from, which have a milder, smoky chilli flavour.
Choose fresh, firm, evenly-coloured chillies with brightly-coloured and unblemished skin.
Store fresh chillies in the crisper of your fridge for up to a week, or freeze in a ziplock bag for up to six months.
Wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly after preparing chillies, as they can irritate your eyes and skin. To prepare, rinse chillies then chop in half and remove seeds. Slice as required – and if you want a hotter dish, leave the seeds in. Chillies can be added to stir-fries, curries, sauces, soups and salads.
3 ways with chillies
Try this fresh, fruity salsa: Combine 1 cup tinned or fresh chopped peaches, 1 thinly sliced red onion, 1 deseeded, thinly sliced chilli, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce and some finely chopped coriander and mint leaves. Serve with Asian-style chicken or steak and rice.
Enjoy this simple, delicious pasta: Toss 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest with 3 finely chopped red chillies, 3 crushed garlic cloves and 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley. Pour over cooked wholemeal spaghetti and cooked, shredded chicken breast, along with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan to serve.
Try turning up the heat: Garnish an Asian-inspired salad, home-made beef burger, stir-fry, curry or soup with finely chopped, deseeded long or birdseye chillies.