Hot Thai Chile Peppers
Thai chiles are a quintessential ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking. Also called bird’s eye chiles, they are frequently featured in curry and in balachuang, a spicy relish used at almost every meal. Dried and ground, they are used to make sauces and were once used in the popular sriracha sauce (named for a seaside town in Thailand).
They are small is size but their spicy heat and pungency make up for it! On the Scoville scale it rates 50,000 to 100,000, just above the serrano chili which is rated 30-50,000! Scoville Units measure chile pepper heat in multiples of 100, with the bell peppers at 0 and the habanero at over 300,000 Scoville Units. The substance that makes a chile hot is called capsaicin, also known for its ability to improve one’s health by increasing blood circulation and metabolism.
Chile vs. chili: Chiles are hot peppers, chili is a pot of spicy meat and beans! You’ll see peppers spelled both ways, but the proper way is chile.
Caution: When preparing Thai chiles, you may want to wear rubber gloves when working with these chilies, especially if you are a contact lens wearer. The chile oil and heat chemical, capsaicin, can stay on your fingers for several hours and really sting when you touch your eyes.
Pick up some of these hot little peppers at the farmers’ market from FT Fresh out of Fresno, Bautista Ranch from Stockton, or B Farm of Fresno. Heat up your summer! They’re picked fresh and brought to you direct from the farm. Small farms take the time to plant and harvest interesting produce and deliver to you to try. That’s what’s so great about a farmers’ market – you find interesting produce that you would never find in the grocery store.