Thai Chile Pepper Stats
Length: ½ - 1 ½"
Width: ¼ - ½"
Scientific Name: Capsicum frutescens
Other Names: bird?s eye chili, chili padi, cili padi, boonie pepper
Scoville Range: 50,000 - 100,000
Thai Chile Pepper Origin and History
Like most hot peppers, Thai pepper originated in Central and South America and was spread by the Spanish and Portuguese to Southeast Asia and other tropical and subtropical regions. It now grows wild in addition to being cultivated in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, India, and Singapore.
Thai Chile Pepper Description
Small, tapered pods point to the sky on plants that grow up to 6 feet tall. While most of the narrowly conical pods ripen to red, some are yellow, orange, or purple when mature. The nickname "bird's eye chili" refers to the preference birds have for this chile variety. Malaysians call the Thai chile pepper "chili padi" because it looks like the grains of the local rice.
The small pods have a pungent heat. The fruit has smooth, thin skin and weighs 2 to 3 grams each. The flowers are greenish or yellowish white.
Thai chiles are widely hybridized and cultivated, resulting in many different types.
Thai Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
Thai peppers have medicinal, culinary, and ornamental uses.
Thai chile is responsible for the fiery zing of much of Southeast Asian cuisine. Nearly all traditional Thai dishes used these chiles. Thai cooks use the larger dried whole chiles in curries. They soak the pods and remove the seeds before using to lessen the heat. Then they pound the seedless chiles with other spices to get the complex color and flavor of curry. The smaller chiles are not typically used in spice mixes.
Indians use Thai pepper in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine. It is the main ingredient in kochchi sambal, a Southeast Asian salad with fresh coconut ground with the chiles and seasoned with salt and lime juice. Thai chiles may also be pickled and served as a condiment. A popular sauce combines the chiles with garlic, vinegar, and salt. The Filipino dish called tinola uses the leaves.
Thai chiles have been used to ease arthritis and rheumatism. They may relieve flatulence, dyspepsia, and toothache. When mixed with water Thai chiles make a natural insect repellent and pesticide.
Plants cultivated for ornamental use feature a multitude of different colored pods at the same time. Ornamental peppers tend to be less pungent than varieties grown for eating, while some varieties have both ornamental and culinary uses.
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