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Bullet Chile Peppers
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Bullet chile peppers are small, tapered pods, averaging 1 to 4 centimeters in diameter and 3 to 6 centimeters in length, and are conical, straight, to slightly curved in shape with a pointed, non-stem end. The smooth, glossy, and thin skin ripens from dark green to bright red when mature. Underneath the surface, the semi-thick flesh is crisp, green to red, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with membranes and flat, round, cream-colored seeds. Bullet chile peppers have a fruity and slightly smoky flavor mixed with a slow-burning, moderate to hot level of spice.
Bullet chile peppers are available year-round.
Bullet chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annum, are a brightly colored, Thai chile hybrid that are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Heaven chiles and Facing Heaven chiles, Bullet chile peppers earn their name from their upright growth pattern that causes the pods to point towards the sky. This unique appearance is common among ornamental chile plants and the bright red pods add dynamic color contrast to green gardens, making it a popular home garden variety. Bullet chile peppers have a moderate to hot heat ranging 15,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale and are used in both their unripe green and mature red state. Predominately used in China, Bullet chile peppers are rarely found fresh and are commonly sold in small packs of dried pods for adding flavoring and heat to culinary dishes.
Bullet chile peppers contain vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that help the body catch invasive pathogens and can overall help boost the immune system. The peppers also contain capsaicin, which is a chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel heat or spice and has some anti-inflammatory properties.
Bullet chile peppers are often considered too hot to be consumed raw and are best suited for cooked applications such as sautéing, stir-frying, grilling, and roasting. Before cooking, the seeds and veins are removed from the pods, and the peppers are lightly sautéed in oil to create a mild, palatable heat. Bullet chiles are commonly used in Asian cooking, especially in Chinese cuisine, and can be added to stir-fries, soups, and stews. The pepper is also sometimes dried and added whole to vegetable and meat dishes as a flavorful garnish. In addition to using the pepper whole, dried Bullet chile peppers can be ground into a spice and sprinkled into pasta sauces, topped over cooked cabbage, mixed into noodle and rice dishes, and blended into sauces for added heat. Bullet chile peppers pair well with peanuts, bell pepper, green beans, mushrooms, water chestnuts, eggplant, tofu, meats such as duck, beef, pork, and poultry, ginger, onions, and leeks. Fresh peppers will keep up to two weeks when stored whole and unwashed in a sealed bag in the refrigerator. Dried Bullet chile peppers will keep up to one year when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
In Mandarin, Bullet chile peppers are called Chao Tian Jiao, which translates to Chaotian pepper, referencing a region of Sichuan in China. Sichuan, also known as Szechwan, is a province in central China that is internationally famous for its spicy cuisine. Szechwan chefs believe that food heavily spiced with chiles will help stimulate the appetite and cleanse the palate. It will also allow the taste buds to be more sensitive to other flavors, balancing dishes with salty, sweet, sour, and bitter notes. Bullet chile peppers are one of the most commonly used peppers in Szechwan cuisine and are used in hotpot, spicy fried green beans, and dan dan noodle dishes. The peppers are also used in poultry dishes such as kung pao chicken and gong bao chicken, which is a dish traditionally served with roasted peanuts. Szechwan cuisine is still celebrated as one of the most popular styles of Chinese food found around the world and Bullet chile peppers are also used to make their signature Szechwan chile oil, which can be added to any dish for additional heat.
Chile peppers are native to Central and South America and were first introduced to China through Portuguese trade expeditions in the 15th and 16th centuries. Bullet chile peppers are believed to be descendants of these ancient peppers and were first cultivated in Sichuan, China in the warm southern provinces of Guizhou, Tianjin, and Yunnan. Over time, the pepper plants were also introduced to other regions of the world with the settlement of Chinese immigrants. Today Bullet chile peppers are predominately found fresh and dried at local grocers and markets in China. The peppers can also be found in seed form through select online catalogs, and in dried form through specialty grocers and farmers markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, South, Central, and North America.
Recipes that include Bullet Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Mallika Basu||Chilli Curry (Mirchi ka Salan)|
|Chilli and Mint||Chinese Chicken with Facing Heaven Bullet Chillies|
|Sous Chef||Dry Fried Green Beans with Bullet Chilli|
|Give Me Some Spice||Stuffed Hot Green Bullet Chillies|