บริการรับจองโรงแรม ที่พัก รีสอร์ทในเกาะสมุย, หาดเฉวง, หาดละไม, บ่อผุดและแม่น้ำ ด้วยราคาสุดพิเศษ ถูกสุดๆ พร้อมข้อมูลการท่องเที่ยว

เพิ่มขนาดตัวอักษร ตัวอักษร ลดขนาดตัวอักษร

 

Thai Food
blue line

 


thai food

:: Introduction  :: Eating & Ordering Thai Food  :: What Comprises a Thai Meal  :: Preparing Thai Food

:: Regional Thai Cuisine  :: hai Recipes  :: Thai Desserts :: Fruits  :: Herbs :: Vegetables  :: Rice  :: Chili 

:: Using Chopsticks

 

All about

chilies

How hot is that chili?chilies

If you like to cook with chili peppers - and so many people do these days, given the popularity of such spicy cuisines as Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean - you've probably heard of the Scoville scale. Chile aficionados will brag that their favorite chilies are the hottest, with a scorching 300,000 on the Scoville scale, while that jalapeño you've just learned to love only measures a wimpy 4,000. But what exactly do these numbers mean, and how do they translate into useful information?

Scoville took the guesswork out of judging chiles. Let's start with the invention of the Scoville scale, and then we'll look at how different varieties of chilies rank in this heat hierarchy. In 1912, a man named Wilbur L. Scoville was working for a company that made an ointment for aching joints in which capsaicin, the heat-causing compound in chilies, was an important ingredient. The company was constantly frustrated because the heat level in chilies varied so much. Scoville devised a formal test in which exact weights of chilies were dissolved in alcohol and then added to sweetened water in precise measures. Tasters were asked to determine how much water was needed to neutralize the heat. A rating number was assigned, according to how many units of water were added before the chili's heat became imperceptible.

Scoville's test was used for the next six decades, yet it wasn't totally reliable, given the fact that human testers' palates are different and easily fatigued by repeated tasting of hot food. In 1980, a more objective test was introduced, the High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography Test, in which powdered chilies are dissolved and then analyzed through a light beam that shows the heat compounds as fluorescent. Most large producers use this test today, but because the Scoville name has been so deeply ingrained in the industry, they make a conversion and still express the pungency in Scoville units.

The Scoville scale ranks fire but not flavor. So what does any of this have to do with the flavor of chilies? Not much. These tests isolate only the heat-causing compounds, but tell us nothing about the overall flavor. The heat of a chili is found in the inner membrane, while the flavor comes from the meaty pod itself and makes all the difference in how we experience the heat. These tests also do nothing to discern how the heat is felt. As anyone who has eaten a lot of chilies will tell you, some, such as the habanero, deliver sharp, quick bursts of heat, while others, such as the fiery red Thai pepper, burn and linger. Some hit you up front on the lips and tip of the tongue, while others scorch your entire mouth and throat. Even the researchers themselves will admit that for all their accuracy, the pepper is a fickle plant: its heat varies widely from pod to pod, plant to plant, garden to garden, and season to season. Even on a single bush, a pod from the sunnier side will be hotter than one from the shady side. A quick look at a sample Scoville scale (right) shows the wide variances within each type of chili.

The Scoville rating provides a good general measure of the relative heat of different chilies. In other words, you can be assured that a cayenne will be hotter than a Poblano. But ultimately, taste remains a subjective experience. There's no substitute for breaking open a chili and tasting it yourself (carefully) for flavor and, of course, for firepower.

The Right Techniques for Fresh Chiles

Fresh chilies are becoming more available all the time, and few supermarkets are without the ubiquitous jalapeño. But the range in quality can be discouraging, and it can be difficult to distinguish fresh chilies from ones that have been on the shelves a while. When shopping for fresh chilies, look for those with smooth, tight skin and a thick, meaty body. A fresh chili should have some heft relative to its diminutive size.
I
f you won't use your chilies right away, keep them cool and dry. You can refrigerate them, but be sure to first remove them from the plastic produce bag; otherwise, they'll be-come soft and moldy. The length of time that chilies will stay fresh in the refrigerator depends on how fresh they were when you bought them, but generally they'll keep for three or four days without suffering any loss of freshness. Once the chill's skin begins to wrinkle, it will lose some of its potency, and if you're roasting or blanching them, the skins will be difficult to peel.

Think about safety

Unless you have particularly tough hands, it's a good idea to use rubber gloves when handling fresh chilies. Many cookbooks recommend using dishwashing gloves, but I find that these are rather clumsy and that getting a handle on small chilies while wearing them can be frustrating. Instead, I like to keep a few pairs of surgical gloves around the kitchen. Available at most drugstores, surgical gloves are cheap, disposable, and best of all, they allow you to get a firm grip on the chilies. Once you've begun working with the chilies, be extremely careful not to touch any part of your body, especially your eyes. After you've finished, wash your knife and cutting board with hot soapy water.

chiliesProtection with a grip. Surgical gloves protect sensitive skin from chilies painful sting, and they improve your grip.

Capsaicin is the chemical compound that gives chilies their heat. An alkaloid, capsaicin is distributed throughout the chili, but the heaviest concentration of capsaicin is found in the white pith on the inside of the chili--those ribs that hold the seeds in place. Further down on the scale of concentration are the seeds and then the chili's flesh, which has the least amount of capsaicin. This gives you a convenient way of controlling the amount of heat that the chili contributes to a dish. To get the most bang out of the chili, use it whole; for a milder flavor, simply trim out the seeds and ribs.

Cutting chilies the easy way

Start by cutting off the entire stem, and then slice the chili in half lengthwise. With the tip of a paring knife, you can remove the seeds and ribs by slicing or nudging them with the knife point. With seeds and ribs out of the way, the chilies are easily cut into strips or a fine dice.

chiliesStemming and seeding a chile. After removing the stem, slice the chile lengthwise to expose the seeds and ribs. Remove the seeds and ribs to moderate the heat, or leave them in for extra punch.

chilies

 

Removing the skins

Many dishes, especially Mexican and Southwestern recipes, call for the chilies to be peeled. You can do this by first charring or blanching the whole chilies. To char, rub them with a little oil and then set them directly over a gas burner. Turn the chilies frequently with tongs or a fork to prevent burning through to the flesh. When the skins have charred and blistered slightly, pop the chilies into a plastic bag and let them steam in their own juices for about 20 minutes. The skins should now rub off easily.
Blanching chilies won't give you the smoky flavor that charring does, but the technique is great if you don't have a gas stove. Simply drop the chilies into boiling water for 30 seconds or so, and then plunge them into ice water. Once the chilies have cooled, they can be skinned just as if they were charred.

Drying chili peppers

Drying chilies is one of the best ways to preserve your harvest, but be sure to dry them when they're fully ripe for the finest flavor. For poblanos, this means when they turn bright red. Any type of chili can be dried by one of the following methods, except for jalapeños, which do best when they're smoke-dried (turning them into chipotles). Don't try drying chilies with black spots; they'll turn moldy and rot.  chilies

If you live in a dry climate, the simplest way to dry the chilies is to tie them on a string by their stems, in clusters of three, and hang them in the sun. This is called a ristra. When the pods are dry but still pliable (this could take weeks, depending on the heat and humidity), hang them indoors and out of direct sunlight to finish drying.
In areas of high humidity, the chilies might rot before the sun can dry them, so your best bet is to halve them lengthwise and use the oven (or a food dehydrator). In a gas oven, set the halved chilies directly on a baking sheet and dry them using just the heat from the pilot light. This may take a couple of days or longer. In an electric oven, the chilies will dry much faster. Set the oven to low, about 175°F, and check the chilies every
few minutes to make sure they don't burn.
The chilies are fully dry when they snap, not just bend. Store them in sealed glass jars in a cupboard, or in the freezer double-wrapped in freezer bags. (Don't put bagged chilies in a cupboard because the plastic is porous and the chilies can oxidize, ruining both the color and the flavor.) With both storage methods, dried chilies last indefinitely.
To reconstitute the chilies, soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes, fry them in a bit of oil until they puff up, or lightly roast them. Dried chilies can also be ground to a powder when you're ready to use them (no earlier, because the powder would lose its flavor).

Chili Growing Tips
From chillisgalore.co.uk

Chilies are in the same family as tomatoes and potatoes. They are grown for their fruits, which are usually picked when green, although they can be left to turn red on the bush, which usually takes about another 2 to 3 weeks. They are best picked green as leaving them on the plant until red will not improve on the flavour. Chilies will grow in similar conditions to tomatoes although better results are achieved in higher temperatures and humidity. A better crop will be achieved by growing under glass, although they can be cultivated outdoors in sheltered sites with plenty of sun.
Sowing Seeds
Seeds need to be sown in 1 inch pots with 2 to 3 seeds in each and thinly covered in compost. Germination can then take up to 4 to 6 weeks in a temperature of 70F, although the majority of seeds germinate in about the first 2 weeks. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual 3 inch pots discarding any weak plants and give them a potash liquid feed to maintain growth. The plants will still need a temperature of about 60F, so will need to be kept indoors or a heated greenhouse.
After about 12 weeks they should now be large enough to transplant into 10 inch pots which can now be placed in an unheated greenhouse or outdoors, if weather is suitable, about 12 inches apart. Now weather and variety depending, they will grow to about 24 inches high or slightly higher in a greenhouse although they should be encouraged to bush out by pinching out the growing tip when 4 to 6 inches tall. Always keep well watered if grown in pots or growing bags as they tend to dry out fairly quickly, more so than if planted straight into the ground, erratic watering will lead to problems such as blossom end rot or cracking of fruits. Mist plants regularly to keep down pests and encourage fruit set. Once fruit has set a nitrogen liquid feed will be necessary with each watering, also some kind of support may be necessary to attach stems to depending on size.

Harvesting Chilies
chilies Chilies should be ready for picking after about 5 to 8 months depending on location and temperatures although outdoor growing may need up to another 8 weeks. Cut chilies when they are green, swollen and glossy, any ripe unpicked chilies left on the plant will turn red within 2 to 3 weeks.
Picked chilies will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator if kept in a sealed container. When using some of the hotter chilies they are best prepared wearing gloves when removing the seeds and inner pith, as any contact with the skin afterwards will cause burning when you touch your face or other any other delicate parts......which is inevitable, take my word for it, washing with water afterwards will not remedy the situation. With a good harvest bag the chilies up and freeze them, or if weather is good enough dry them out in the sun, although I have had good results spreading them out on a baking tray and placing on top of a boiler.

Diseases are not common on chilli peppers, but some of the little blighters to look out for are:

  • Aphids: (greenfly and blackfly) chillis should be checked regularly for their presence and any infestation should be dealt with by spraying with dimethoate, derris or malathion. If the chillis are ready for picking use derris.
  • Red spider mite: Common pest in the greenhouse in hot dry conditions, causing leaf discoloration and affecting growing adversely. Spraying weekly with dimethoate and malathion can control the problem as well as creating a damp atmosphere.
  • Whitefly: Various species of whitefly may attack the chillis causing a black deposit of sooty mould on the leaves. Try controlling with 3 to 4 sprays of pyrethum, permetmrin or pirimiphos-methyl every week.
  • Grey mould: Irregular watering may cause brown sunken areas on the chilies which will in turn go soft and mouldy. Always keep chilli plants well spaced, well ventilated and well watered, always removing dead or dying plants leaves or stems.
  • Leaves yellowing: nutrient deficiency, give the plants a liquid feed such as seaweed.
Saving Seeds
Keep a couple of ripe chilies for next years crop. Hang the chilies in a dry atmosphere and then when dried out, collect all the seeds and seal in an envelope, label up and keep in a dry cool place for following year. Germination may not be as high as bought treated seeds but enough seeds from a couple of plants should yield a satisfactory number of plants.