Chili is a taste that is felt when certain foods are consumed. Though it is not considered a basic taste, it is believed to be the sixth sense of our palate. This kind of taste is generally felt in the form of something spicy and hot (to taste and not feel) such as peppers, chilies (including dry red powder), jalapenos, black pepper corns, certain vegetables such as horseradish, ginger and certain alcohol based beverages are drunk. This feeling of heat when certain hot foods are tasted is because of the stimulation of somatosensory fibers present on the tongue. Many cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican and even Middle Asian have recipes that predominantly use these spicy ingredients.
History of Chilies
Chili has its origin in Central America where it was cultivated around 5000 years for both its taste and medicinal properties. Since then these recipes have been an integral part of Pre-Columbian Americans. It was much later, around the 15th century that the ingredient that gave the spicy taste to various dishes was introduced into Europe, which soon became popular with other cuisines as well. Today, because of the sharp taste that hot ingredients such as chilies, peppers, jalapenos, and certain vegetables have, these ingredients have their own identity in various recipes.
Popular Chili Recipes of Various Cuisines
Chili taste based foods are quite popular with the Indian, Mexican and Chinese cuisines. Some popular recipes are –
- Indian– There are many recipes of this ingredient, as Indians enjoy spicy food. However, one very popular recipe is Dal Tadka, which is a lentil based side dish that is generally eaten with roti and even jeera rice. This dish gets its spicy taste from the seasoning is made with dried red chilies roasted in hot oil, which helps in bringing out the real flavor of capsaicin.
- Mexican– Habanera Salsa is a popular recipe of the Mexican cuisine. This dish is spicy because of the habanera and Anaheim varieties of the ingredient that are used and the nice spicy flavor is also obtained from red and green bell peppers. All these ingredients along with certain spices and other ingredients make a delicious and spicy salsa, which is thoroughly enjoyed by many. Other popular recipes of this cuisine are Terrific Turkey, Colorado Green, Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup, etc.
- Chinese– Chili Chicken is a popular recipe of this cuisine. This dish can be made dry as well with gravy, depending on which dish it is accompanying. Green bell pepper and green chilies are the main ingredients that are used in this dish. Other well-known recipes of this cuisine are Schezwan rice and also Schezwan side dishes that could be vegetable or meat based.
Health Benefits of Chili Recipes
Chili, other than enhancing the flavor of dish, also has certain health related benefits. Ingredients such as chilies, peppers, jalapenos, etc that have this taste are known to treat chronic long standing pain, the extract of this ingredient is known to be a part of anesthetic as it opens up the receptors. Other than these benefits, such ingredients are rich in vitamin C and B6 and also carotene, which is essential as it gets converted in the body, to vitamin A. Considering these kind of benefits, it is imperative to include dishes in our daily diet that get a taste of spiciness.
Chili is the hot spicy taste because of capsaicin present in this ingredient and this can be neutralized by casein, which is a milk protein.