Kashmiri Red Chillies

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Spice is nice 

Indians love spices, it is a well-known fact and you can safely say that Indian palate is not accustomed to bland food. 

Kashmiri red chillies to your rescue

I have always believed that the appearance of food is very important because we see the food first with our eyes, then smell the flavour with our nose and then feel the taste with our tongue. And here is one ingredient that lends its wonderful red colour and flavour to the food without making it too spicy and that is Kashmiri red chilli. Routinely, I cut them into small neat pieces and store them in a bottle for easy access while tempering or grinding them into a paste. 

Some details about these red delights

Kashmiri red chillies are smaller, rounder and less pungent but give a very vibrant red colour to a dish. Finely ground and distinctly flavoured, Kashmiri red chillies are selectively bred for colour and flavour. They are available in a wide range of colour values, the best are bright red and valued for their high colour retention. 

For that wonderful natural red colour

Recently, I had served tandoori chicken at a party and one of my guests asked me how come it had such vivid red colour and at the same time was not too spicy. Well it was because I had used Kashmiri red chilli paste and not added any artificial colour. And the result – everybody just loved it. So remember when you want that rich red colour and want to keep the pungency within limits, its Kashmiri red chillies that you should reach out for. 

Pickles and chutneys

These ruby red wonders can be used to make some wonderful pickles and chutneys that have more colour and less bite and spruce up your plates with much loved tangy flavours. Sweet red chilli pickles are much in demand too. 

Colourful snacks too 

Use them to make some crispy snacks. Just slit them, remove the seeds, stuff them with spicy cheese mixture, dip them in besan batter and deep fry. Or marinate some shelled tiger prawns in a mixture of Kashmiri red chilli paste, ginger-garlic paste and salt for a while, roll them in semolina and deep fry. These taste great with mocktails or cocktails.

Powder power 

Stocking up on Kashmiri red chilli powder, stands you in good stead for they can help you make tasty, beautifully coloured snacks and dishes without much effort. 

How to Store

It can be stored whole or in powdered form in an air tight jar. Avoid exposure to air and moisture. 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.