Big red chilli
Red chile peppers grow on medium-sized, shrub-like plants. They mature from green to a crimson or dark red. The darker the color, typically the stronger the flavor. The peppers are long, and tapered; they grow up to 5 and a half inches in length and are about an inch . Red chile peppers average about 30,000-50,000 Scoville heat units, which is about the same as a cayenne pepper. They have an earthy, grassy flavor once the heat subsides. Red chile peppers also have a slight astringency that is masked when the peppers are dried.
Red chile peppers are available year-round in India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and other Asian countries.
Chile peppers are sometimes called “the universal spice” in India because it is used in almost every recipe. Red chile peppers are scientifically classified as Capsicum annuum and were originally native to South America. The variety of chile peppers most often referred to as “Red chile pepper” in India are Guntur Sannam and Bird’s Eye chiles, the latter of which is a bit spicier than the former. In Hindi, the peppers are called Lal Mirch or (fresh) Hari Mirch.
Red chile peppers contain high amounts of vitamin C and carotene. They have all the B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6. The peppers are also high in potassium, magnesium and iron.
Red chile peppers are just as necessary in Indian dishes as the green chile peppers. Fresh, Red chile peppers are cut into pieces, seeds and all, with white wine vinegar and salt, and blended to make a paste. The result is a cross between a paste and a sauce, and it is eaten with roti (flatbread) or paratha (a flakier, layered, fried bread), or other snacks. Another traditional Indian dish is stuffed Red chile pickle. The Red chile pepper is washed, dried, left to sit in the sun for an hour to rid it of all moisture before being split down one side and stuffed entirely with spices. The “pickle” can be stored up to two months, or preserved in mustard oil for even longer. Red chile peppers are used in curries, dals, chutneys and sauces, the spicy peppers are also dried and ground for chile powder. Fresh Red chile peppers can be stored up to two weeks when wrapped loosely in plastic and kept in the refrigerator.