Varieties of Chilies
There are more than 400 varieties of chili available all over the world. They differ in pungency, size, shape and colors. Some of the main types of chilies are:
Aji | Anaheim | Bell Peppers | Bolita | Cascabel | Cayenne | Chiltepin | Habanero | Jalapeno | Jamaican Hot | Mirasol | Paprika | Pasilla | Pimento | Poblano | Scotch Bonnet | Serrano
Aji is South American term in used for chili. It is one of the hottest flavored chile pepper. Generally, aji is bright yellow, red, orange, or purple in color. It is also called as "Yellow Chile" or "Yellow Peruvian chile."
Anaheim peppers are blunt nosed, long and narrow with green or reddish color. Anaheim is available in Mexico. The pungency of Anaheim depends on where they are grown; however, they are moderately hot.
Bell peppers are mild in pungency and originated about 5000 B.C. from South America . Bell peppers are received their name from the bell shape and available in bright colors of green, red, orange, yellow, purple, brown and black. The green and orange bell peppers are bitter to taste. Red and yellow peppers are sweet and tangy to taste.
Also called "Bola Chile ," cascabel chilies are dried form of bolita chilies. Cascabel is a Spanish word which means "round bells" or "rattle" found in Michoacán in Mexico . Cascabel fruit is round and brown or red in color with mild to medium in pungency.
Cayenne chili has been cultivated and included in food from as far as 4,000 years ago. Columbus brought Cayenne to Portugal . Cayenne is long and slender in shape with dark green color which matures to bright red. It extremely pungent to taste and used widely in India and other Asian countries. The red Cayennes are used to make chili powder. There are many varieties of cayenne including hot Portugal , large red thick, long red slim, ring of fire, super cayenne, and a relatively new Charleston Hot. The Charleston hot cayenne is considered to be extremely pungent and has attractive fruit.
Chiltepin or Piquin
Chiltepin got its name from the Nahuatl Mexican language "Chili" and "tecpintl" meaning "flea chili." It is believed to be the oldest and original form of all the chili species available now. Chiltepin has tiny round shaped fruit and are extremely hot in pungency. It is also known as "Chiltecpin" or "Tepin."
Habanero chilies in Spanish means "the one from Havana " though not used in Havana . Habanero is commonly used in Mexico and Yucatan and considered hottest chili. The fruits of Habanero are yellow, red, or white in color. The chili pods of red savina habanero chili are considered as hottest in the world which may even cause tongue blistering if eaten.
Named after the city Xalapa of Mexico, Jalapenos are extremely popular in Mexico and USA . Jalapenos are cylindrical, oval shaped with very thick flesh with green color which turns in to red color when ripe. The thick outer part of Jalapeno chili conceals the pungency of inside. The Mexican cuisine includes "chipotle" which is smoked and dried Jalapenos.
Mirasol are extremely beautiful to look at with its rich smooth shinning red skin, oval shaped with high pungency. When dried it become red chili known as "guajillo" or "puya." The dried mirasol which has medium pungency.
Paprika belongs to Capsicum annum originated from Mexico and used widely in America , California , Spain , and Hungary . The paprika is usually dried and grinded to give seasoning powder having pungent sweet smelling characteristic. The bright red round or elongated shaped fruit of paprika varies in pungency from mild to hot and used extensively in Hungarian cuisine.
Pasilla chili is long thin, with green color which turns dark brown when matures and when dried has raisin-texture. The ripe pasilla is called as "Chilaca" or "Chiles Negro" and is available in Mexico . The pungency of pasilla is from mild to medium.
The Spanish paprika is called as pimento chili. They are also called cherry pepper as the fruit is large heart-shaped red pepper with sweet, aromatic, and succulent fruit. The pimentos are extremely mild in pungency and are stuffed in green olives.
The poblano chilies mean "pepper from Pueblo " since the poblano originated from Pueblo in Mexico . Poblano chilies are heart-shaped green in color when unripe and turns red or brown when ripens. The pungency ranges from mild to moderate. The dried poblanos are called with two different names Mulato and Ancho. The mulatos are sweeter than ancho.
Scot's Bonnet or Scotch Bonnet
Closely related to Jamaican hot and habanero, these chilies are equally hot in pungency. Scotch bonnet or Scot's bonnet are irregular in shape with yellow, orange, or red color. It is used frequently in Jamaican cuisine. Scotch bonnet chilies are so hot that when taken will cause blisters to the tongue, dizziness, and severe heartburn.
Serrano chilies means highland or mountain are small, round in shape with slight pointed at the end. Serrano chilies originated from the foothills of Puebla in Mexico. They are smooth dark green when unripe and turns scarlet red, brown, orange, and then yellow as they ripen with high pungency.
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