Chilies to Heat up your Winter

Chilies are members of the capsicum family. If you find you have eaten too hot a chili, you may cool down your throat by drinking milk or a yogurt drink, such as mango lassi, as water will just heat you up!

Chilies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be sweet, to very, very hot. We can find over 200 different types of chilies grown in all regions of the tropics. By the time we find them in our American supermarkets, they need to be checked if still fresh, crisp, and unwrinkled. In international grocery stores you may be deciding which chili pepper to select: ancho, cascabel, cayenne, chipotle, guajillo, habanero, jalapeno, poblano, or serrano.

Be careful on offering dishes with very hot peppers. Taken in large doses, capsicums can cause stomach and intestinal burns. Some people even a little bit of a hot pepper is too much, so always ask your dinner guests beforehand what their hot tolerance is.

If you enjoy dining at Asian restaurants, you will be familiar with chili oils that are available to use with your dinner. Frequently, I have used these for dipping har gow, a Chinese dim sum made of shrimp paste and rice flour. These dipping oils are even sold at some Chinese restaurants so you can enjoy in your own home.

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