alive logo

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Spice up your plate


Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Chillies liven up a variety of dishes. Whether flavouring a glaze, a jam, soup, or muffins, they'll tantalise your taste buds.

From Asia to Latin America, chillies have insinuated their way into nearly every global cuisine. Long prized for the bite they lend to dishes, these days it’s not uncommon to find supermarkets that stock an increasing array of chillies in various shapes, sizes and hues.

They’re ready to find a home in scrambled eggs, soups and spicy stir-fries. And you don’t have to be a heat freak to enjoy eating chillies. Their heat levels vary greatly, with smaller varieties often packing the most fire power.

Chillies obtain their hurts-so-good kick from capsaicin, a phytochemical concentrated in the seeds and inner membranes. A growing body of research postulates that capsaicin can aid in weight management by bolstering metabolism and quelling appetite, improving cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and helping to lessen the pain associated with conditions such as arthritis. There’s never been a better time to spice up your kitchen.

Handle with care

Our tips for handling chilli peppers will ensure you don’t feel the burn.

  • Contrary to popular belief, most of the capsaicin in chillies is in their inner membranes and not the seeds. So if you want to moderate the heat of a pepper, strip the membrane and not just the seeds.
  • It’s always advisable to wear gloves when working with chillies in case you accidentally rub your eyes.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap immediately after chopping chillies.
  • When your mouth is on fire, take a sip of milk. The protein casein in dairy helps subdue the flame.


Choose your heat

It’s important to be able to distinguish between mild and fiery chillies so that you don’t accidentally go overboard in your cooking. Here’s a list of common chillies ranging from subdued to have mercy. Let the table dares begin.

Mild-mannered Happy medium Hot stuff
banana serrano cayenne
capsicum jalapeno Thai/bird’s eye
cubanelle red Fresno habanero
pimento/cherry chipotle Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (the world’s hottest, and grown in Australia)


The Achiever’s Dilemma

The Achiever’s Dilemma

Carole AmesCarole Ames