Red Thai Chile Peppers
Inventory, 10 lbs : 2.30
This item was last sold on : 11/29/23
Red Thai chile peppers vary in size and shape, depending on the specific variety, and are generally small, conical, and slender, tapering to a point on the non-stem end. The pods range in length from 2 to 7 centimeters, and the skin is smooth, taut, and waxy, ripening from green to bright red when mature. Underneath the surface, the flesh is thin, crisp, and pale red, encasing a central cavity filled with small, round, and flat cream-colored seeds. Red Thai chile peppers have a fruity, subtly earthy flavor with a pungent heat that slowly builds and then lingers on the palate.
Red Thai chile peppers are available year-round.
Red Thai chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are mature pods that belong to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The name Thai chile is a general descriptor used to encompass many different varieties of peppers commonly used in Thailand that share a similar size, shape, and spice level. The peppers are also given local nicknames in different regions, which can cause confusion in the markets. As a solution, the peppers are generally labeled as Thai chile peppers to create a cohesive name. There are two primary varieties of Thai chile peppers cultivated today, including prik kee noo suan, also known as the “mouse dropping pepper,” a name given for the pepper’s small and unassuming size, and prik chee fah or the red spur chile pepper. Thai chiles are also sometimes known as Bird’s Eye or simply Bird chile pepper, which is a nickname given as a result of their unique appeal to birds. Throughout Thailand, Red Thai chile peppers have been widely adopted into traditional cuisine since their introduction in the 15th and 16th centuries. The peppers are left on the plants to fully develop before harvesting and have a moderate to hot level of spice, ranging 50,000-100,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. Red Thai chile peppers are often used as a garnish and are used whole or minced to flavor sauces, oils, and pastes.
Red Thai chile peppers are a good source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can boost the immune system, increase collagen production, and help prevent vision loss. The peppers also contain fiber, copper, potassium, vitamins B6 and K, and capsaicin, which is a chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel the sensation of heat or spice. Capsaicin has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Red Thai chiles are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as sautéing, stir-frying, and boiling. The fresh peppers can be sliced and tossed into salads, minced into marinades and dressing, or blended into pastes, sauces, and dips. In Thailand, a popular table condiment known as nahm bplah mixes the diced peppers with fish sauce, spices, and garlic for a spicy flavoring. Red Thai chile peppers are also incorporated into soups such as tom kha, curries, stir-fries, and cooked meats such as pla rad prik, which is a fried fish drizzled in chili sauce. In addition to food-based dishes, Red Thai chile peppers can be stirred into spicy cocktails or dried and ground into a powder for use as a spice. Red Thai chile peppers pair well with coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, onions, shallots, peanuts, herbs such as cilantro, mint, and Thai basil, bell peppers, yuzu, eggplant, potatoes, and meats such as fish, poultry, pork, and beef. The fresh peppers will keep up to two weeks when stored whole and unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In Thai cuisine, Red Thai chile peppers are used as a brightly colored ingredient to create a balanced dish. Presentation is an essential component of dining in Thailand, and dishes must have visual stimulation through the use of color as well as a delicate combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and umami flavors. Both fresh and dried Red Thai chile peppers are often used whole with the stem left intact to provide color, texture, and spice. Whole peppers are also commonly carved to make decorative flowers to enhance the visual appeal of a dish. In addition to balancing a meal, Red Thai chile peppers are used as a natural way to cool the body and are used in traditional medicine as a detoxing ingredient. In humid and hot weather, the capsaicin in the peppers will cause the body to sweat, creating a cooling effect to help reduce the internal core temperature and provide a reprieve from the surrounding environment.
Red Thai chile peppers are descendants of spicy peppers native to South America that have been growing wild since ancient times. The original pepper varieties were introduced to Southeast Asia in the 15th and 16th centuries via Portuguese explorers, and since their introduction, the peppers have been selectively bred over generations to create many of the varieties that are labeled as Thai chile peppers today. Red Thai chile peppers are extensively cultivated across Thailand, grown commercially on hillsides, terraces, and in irrigated paddy fields after the rice-growing season, and are sold in local markets. The peppers are also commonly grown in home gardens. Outside of Thailand, Red Thai chile peppers are grown in Europe and North America and are sold through specialty grocers and farmer's markets. They are also sold in canned form in select grocers.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
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