One tiny little nag that I have when moving to Australia, in particular Sydney, is the absent of decent chili that is actually hot. Yes, you can still buy those red chili easily in supermarket or green grocery widely, but the degree of hotness is very poor. If I have a “hot-o-meter” scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is not hot at all and 10 being ‘super max kicking hot’ the average supply of chilli in Sydney will be around 1 or 2 level. Not good enough for me…
Having grown up in Indonesia where chili is one of the popular daily food, usually I eat chili as pickle. Yes, many dishes also incorporate chili on their recipe, but as a self-proclaim chili addict, in one meal, I can easily eat 10 – 20 fresh chili just like that: one in every spoonful. Usually the one that I eat is the small green chili which is quite hot (level 4 to 5 in my “hot-o-meter”), but the taste is neutral – meaning will not disturb the original taste of the dish that I eat it with. Also is not too oily/watery like the one you get from supermarket here. See the picture on the right , they call it “cabe rawit” (‘cabe’ is chili).
Having experiencing the problem above, so far I manage to get around my chili craving using these 2 sources of chili:
- Some green grocers sell what they label as “Indian chili”. It’s green, thin and long. It reaches level 3 – 4 in my hot-o-metter
- Go to most Vietnamese restaurant – for some reasons, their chopped fresh chilis usually are hotter than average chili
A Nepali friend and colleague, just a day before their Dashain festival giving me a bunch of chili (pictured left) that satisfy to the fullest my chilli hunger.
This chubby looking-fat chili is really hot. Scored 7.5 in my hot-o-meter scale. It tastes neutral and not to dry and not too wet. Just right!
But I must warn that it will be too hot for most people – even my fellow chili fans my wife.
At this stage, I don’t know the exact name of this chili but my friend told me that he bought that in Flemington market. I will update this post once I survey the market. Until then, let’s call it “Fat Chili”
At least, with this variant of chili, I know exactly where to go to should my chili craving kick in.
When it comes to enjoy chili, there are many ways that suit different people individually. Many enjoy chilli to be “incorporated” into their speciality dish, other some like to cook special chili sauce to come with the favorite dish.
But for me, I like it raw. Not only it will give you the full benefit of anti-oxidant and vitamin C it contains, but the taste is fresher and hotter as raw. Some of my favorite serving suggestion that might suit your taste bud are:
- Fresh: just chopped in tiny slices and serve it raw with your favorite dish
- With garlic: crush a small garlic with few of this chili together (use mortar and pestle a.k.a “cobek”), sprinkle some salt and a bit of sugar to taste. Crush until mix well, serve raw…
- With sweet soy sauce: chopped in tiny slices into small bowl then pour sweet soy sauce to “marinate” the chili. Give a bit of squash with tea spoon and ready to serve.
When it’s getting to hot….
Every now and then – too excited enjoying chili – you will suddenly feel “emergency” as the hotness of the chili kick in really big and fast. Most of people will go for water to sooth the overheating of your tongue. But for me, water is not too effective – not only make me bloated, but the soothing relieve is not that significant.
For me (at least), a sip of cold yoghurt for a good few seconds will effectively reduce the overheating, otherwise chewing a bite of banana also quite good (press hard onto your tongue). Then take a break for few minutes and continue the chili excitement. You will start sweating on top of your head and start your more rapid breathing – but this is normal – part of the excitement.
Too much chili will usually also give you a very mild diarrhea later on that day or the day after with the feel of heat on your “other end” – usually that’s about it, but if you got more severe symptoms consult your doctor… :-)
However, you should stop when you cannot take it anymore. You have been warned!