Homemade Thai Chili Powder (พริกป่น)
Speaking of Thai food is speaking of spicy food. Thai chili or birds eye chili plays a huge role in Thai kitchen. I have to have it in my kitchen either fresh or dry at all times. I know most of us can not tolerate spicy so well, but honestly eating spicy food is like working out. It might be unbearable at the beginning, but if you take it and top it up bit by bit, you would be able to enjoy spicy food more than you know.
What is Bird's Eye Chili?
It is originally in Southeast Asia, India, and Sri Lanka. It measures around 100,000 - 225,000 Scoville Unit. The bird's eye chili is considered as a fruit in green, orange, and red color. Spicy fruit? Yes, chili has edible seeds just like tomatoes, zucchini, so it is a fruit. In Thai cuisine, we use both fresh and dry bird's eye chili. We use raw ones for salads, soups and or chop them and soak in fish sauce or just eat it raw on the side. For the dried ones, we add in them soups (especially Thai northern soup), curry, salad (Isan salad). Sometimes we ground them to chili powder and use to add in noodles soups. The bird's eye chili has a compound called capsaicin. It gives a burning sensation to all mammals including human. Thus you should be careful when you are preparing it for your food by wearing gloves to protect your hands. Washing your hands right away after finish the preparing is also recommended.
Bird's Eye Chili Benefits
Why am I convincing you to consume the bird's eye chili? It is not only for flavor in the food or be able to show off to the others how tough you are. Capsaicin in the bird's eye chili does not only irritate us, but it provides some health benefit for us, too. First, it is a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A and C., and it can clear some mucus when you have a running nose. Capsaicin can reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride level, platelet aggregation and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. There is a study issue in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the insulin requirement to lower blood sugar is reduced after the subjects consume the diet that contains chili in it.
Why should we do a homemade Thai chili powder?
There are so many brands of chili powder in every America grocery store that you can find, but they are not Thai chili powder. Like you know that each kind of chili has the different level of spice. Your foods flavor might be distorted from the original Thai recipe. The easiest way to solve this problem is to go an Asian grocery store and buy chili powder that the package says "Thai chili powder or Bird's eye chili powder."
The process to make Thai chili powder is so simple, but it is a little bit challenging because you need to toss the dried bird's eye chili on a hot pan and pound them in a mortar or blend them in a processor. You may have nose or eyes irritation, but do not worry it is not as horrible as it sounds. If you come across Thai recipes that require chili powder, I recommend you make the powder yourself. I am quite skeptical when it comes to chili powder or crushed peanut. I have a hard time to trust how old those things are. You do not want to consume the old chili powder that contains aflatoxins in it. Aflatoxins can cause liver damage or cancer with a certain amount.
I love my Thai chili powder. I love its smell, and it is spicier than the ones in those Asian grocery stores. Let me know if you love it too.
- • 2 oz. dried Thai chili / Bird’s eye chili
- • 1 tbsp salt
- Turn on a stove on medium and place a pan on it.
- Put salt on the pan and add dried chili.
- Constantly toss the dried chili about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and let the chili cool.
- Pound the toasted dried chili (only the chili, discard the salt) in a mortar with a pestle or use a processor.
- Keep it in a dry jar with a lid on it and store a jar at a room temperature.