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Chili

An Introduction
There is hardly any dish of the world which is cooked without chili, the small green coloured vegetable which is also called as chili or chilli pepper. This little, but effective green vegetable is undoubtedly the heart and soul of many renowned recipes. Whether it is chili chicken or mutton curry; mix vegetable or salad, this finger sized pepper add a kick to every cuisine. Chutney; also chutney or a sauce or relish; prepared by mixing green chili peppers with with spices and other seasoning is quite common among the Indians.

Known for its hot and pungent flavour, it is used as a vegetable as well as a spice. The harvested portion of the plant is termed as the fruit, and botany considers the plant a berry shrub. They are edible fruits of the genus capsicum, the member of Solanaceae the plants of the nightshade family.

Chili may have its roots in Spanish cuisine. It has been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC, and perhaps earlier. Historical findings suggest that chili peppers have been domesticated in various parts of South and North America. Christopher Columbus, renowned explorer, colonizer and navigator, was one of the first Europeans to encounter them. He tasted a chili like fruit and called them "peppers" because of their similarity in taste (though not in appearance) with the Old World peppers of the Piper genus.

There are hundreds of cultivars of a chili pepper, but few are grown commercially. The most common species of chili peppers are:

  • Capsicum annuum, which includes many common varieties such as bell peppers, paprika, cayenne, jalapeños, and the chiltepin
  • Capsicum frutescens, which includes the tabasco peppers
  • Capsicum chinense, which includes the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero and Scotch bonnet
  • Capsicum pubescens, which includes the South American rocoto peppers
  • Capsicum baccatum, which includes the South American aji peppers, etc.
 

Etymology
The word chili or chilli, originates from nahuatl chīlli via the Spanish word chile. The mild larger types are called bell pepper in the United States, Canada (and sometimes the United Kingdom), sweet pepper in Britain and Ireland, capsicum in Pakistan India and Australasia, and paprika in many European countries.ans smaller, hot types of capsicum in most parts of the world.

Chili Plant
Chili plants are both annuals and biennials. They are grown as houseplants and perennials as well as ornamental plants. The plant requires irrigation at regular intervals. These plants are incredibly easy to

look after. Chili plants are easy to grow and as long as they receive plenty of moisture and nutrients, are not subjected to cold and receive plenty of sunshine. These plants are available in various varieties and colours, right from small round cherry peppers to long, pencil-shaped cayenne varieties.
 

Uses
Following are the major application areas of chili pepper:

  • Culinary Uses: Due to its fiery hot flavour, it is often eaten as raw. Salads are almost incomplete without this green and small sized vegetable. One of the most common uses of the chili is in preparing hot sauce. Chili peppers are also often used around the world to make a wide variety of sauces, known as hot sauce, chili sauce, or pepper sauce. It is often sold worldwide as a spice in dried and powdered form. In the Southwest United States, dried ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic and oregano is often known as chili powder. In India, chili is an inseparable element of every cuisine.
  • Decoration: In many parts of the world, chili plants are grown as an ornamental plant. Some varieties and cultivars have developed only for this purpose. Examples of these include Thai Ornamental, Black Pearl, Marble, Numex Twilight, and the Medusa pepper, a green plant which produces fruit starting purple, then ripening to yellow, orange, and red.
 
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