I adore chilli. I could have it in just about anything – yes, even chocolate. The hotter the better for me but surprisingly we don’t use them much at home because, you guessed it, Hairy isn’t a fan. One of my favourite meals is chili con carne and I would happily throw in a teaspoon of our super hot birds eye chili powder but nay, in our house it’s a ‘pinch’.
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I once made a Thai green chilli paste that was so hot it burnt the top layer of skin off my lips. It was delicious! But I understand that some folks may not like the pleasure and pain merry-go-round that comes from hot chilli. The sensors in your brain click in to action when you eat chilli which releases endorphins, increasing your heart rate and makes you get your sweat on. I suspect this release of endorphins is why people get addicted to the sensation. Fantastic – all from a bowl of food!
Here’s a few tips to keep you chilli-safe:
Drink cold milk: the capsicain in chilli is broken down by the fats in dairy products; this is why lots of Indian dishes are served with cooling yoghurt on the side. Sure, you can have water – but it wont do a thing except keep you hydrated.
Have a glass of wine: frankly, I don’t need to be eating chilli to be prompted to have a glass of wine, but similar to above the alcohol will break down the capsicain. Curry and a beer? Great.
Wear gloves: when preparing chilli, it’s a good idea to have a pair of disposable gloves on hand. Trust me, I have rubbed my eyes after cutting chilli and its not fun. If you don’t have gloves you can rinse you hands in a little milk.
Chopping board: Unless you are super organized and have a chopping board especially for chilli, I would suggest placing a layer of baking paper over your chopping board before preparing your chilli. Easy to throw away when you are done and you can continue making your meal.
The good thing about chilli is that you have control of how much you use, if any at all. Green chillis are generally more mild than red and the bigger the chili the more mild it will be. Look out for those little red ones! If you want to turn up the heat dial, leave the seeds intact.
Thai chicken and coconut cakes with sriracha
500gms best quality chicken mince
1 small onion, diced very fine
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup coriander
1 green chilli diced fine
1 red chilli diced fine
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 generous pinch of sugar
I tablespoon of peanut oil
Mix all ingredients together and shape into round balls. Heat oil in frying pan and cook chicken balls slightly pressing down as you go. Fry until golden – about 15 minutes and serve with a small bowl of sriracha or sweet chilli sauce.
You can also make this mix into burger patties, serve on a toasted Turkish roll with sliced tomato, cos lettuce and chilli sauce for a beautiful Thai chicken burger.
Watch: Curtis Stone cooks parmesan and Dijon crusted chicken with beans and capers