Green chillies are popular as a cooking ingredient and give a hot flavour to dishes. However, they also have several applications for health and well-being.
The heat of your curry is generally determined by the amount and type of chilli peppers used in the recipe.
There are many types of green chillies, all of which produce a different intensity of heat. Green chillies generally give a sharper taste than red chillies.
Green chilli peppers have no calorie content and can speed up the body’s metabolism by up to fifty percent up to three hours after eating.
Chilli peppers are classified as Capsicum which are members of the nightshade family.
Their intensity comes from the compound capsaicin found in the pepper and is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that sends messages to the nervous system) and capsaicinoids (a metabolism enhancer that is responsible for the heat associated with eating chilli peppers).
Chilli peppers originated in Mexico. Following the travels of Christopher Columbus, and the introduction of the new fruits and plants he found, they began to be used across the globe, both in food and traditional medicine from the fourteenth century.
The differing heat producing qualities of each type of green chilli is determined by the variety of the pepper and by the conditions it is grown in. There are hundreds of varieties.
The strength or heat of each type of pepper is measured in Scoville heat units. The higher the Scoville score the hotter the pepper.
Scoville scores range between zero for green bell peppers through to poblano peppers at mid-range, and on to jalepeno, bird’s eye and serrano peppers at the top end of the scale.
Using Green Chillies in Indian Cookery
Whilst green chillies generally have a milder heat than red chilli peppers, they will influence the taste of the dish more, beyond pure heat, because they are sharper and less sweet than red chilli peppers.
Typically, in Indian cooking green chilli pepper will be lightly fired in ghee or oil and then added to the dish at the start of the cooking process.
Green Chillies should be well cooked, as undercooked they will be bitter and spoil the taste of your dish.
To get the authentic Indian taste when using green chilli peppers, it is best to use the smaller heat packed ones. Jalepeno and other fatter and larger green chillies do not tend to impart the distinctive Indian taste.
Using chopped chilli peppers in a dish will give a stronger flavour and heat that the subtle spiciness of adding a whole chilli during cooking.
Green chill peppers are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, making them good for the skin.
They are also high in iron, so can be used as part of a regime for treating iron deficiency.
Green Chillies in food can release endorphins into your body which can boost your mood and reduce pain.
The capsaicin in green chilli peppers is known to lower body temperature.
Green chilli peppers are said to lower blood sugar levels, so can be a good ingredient for diabetics.
Capsaicin in chillies stimulates the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses and can be used to treat mucus build up there.
Including chilli peppers in your diet can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the chance of blood clots forming.