Spice it up with red chilli flakes

by Sanjeev Kapoor

One sprinkle here and another one there and what you get is a delicious and flavourful spiciness that you craved for. You can take a simple dish and by sprinkling a little chilli flakes take it to another level altogether.

Who could have first thought of these amazingly fiery little red spices? Actually there are conflicting reports regarding the origins of red peppers or red chillies. While some say that they came from Peru to the Caribbean and Christopher Columbus via trading bought it to Spain. One thing I can say for sure is that red chillies were introduced to India quite late and our ancestors were completely unaware of their existence. Some say that they travelled to India and China via the trade routes involving the Portuguese. Perhaps they even travelled to Turkey and Hungary as well, where they are known by the name of paprika. And since then they are being cultivated around the globe.

Red peppers and their worth
Red peppers are from the family of chilli peppers which are plants from the capsicum genus.
Nutritionally speaking they are rich in vitamin C and A as well as potassium and magnesium. This made them very beneficial to those travelling, for they protected them from the effects of scurvy. They are also antioxidants and also help in killing of parasites in the body.

The best thing about the flakes is that it can be added according to your personal taste. Cooking for an entire family can be a little daunting. For different palates like different flavours as also levels of flavours. So if you don’t like it too hot, sprinkle a little and if you like it fiery, sprinkle more.

How it is made
Red chilli flakes or crushed red chillies can be made from dried red chillies and what’s more they need be from one type of chilli but from combinations of various types. These flakes have caught on people’s palates to such an extent that crushed red pepper shakers have become as standard as salt and pepper on tables at Italian style restaurants and especially pizza parlours.

How do you use it
Very often one can find lots of seeds, which some people believe intensifies the heat. But in reality the heat actually comes from the vein or pith of the pepper on which the seeds grow.

Crushed red chillies can be used in pickling, chowders, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, soups and sausages. However, they are also used for many other dishes such as stir-fry, pastas, salads and infusing cooking oils. And the taste is incredibly warm and mysterious, with just a touch of spiciness. 

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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.