There is something amazingly fun and freeing about creating a recipe for a food that you know very little about. Anything involving chili peppers, I know very little about. That’s why I was intrigued to try a green curry recipe.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, on holidays with my family in Jamaica, we were visiting friends who were staying in a villa nearby. Out in their backyard was a tree with the cutest little red peppers I had ever seen. What did I do? Of course, I plucked it from the tree. I took a bite, then scratched my face, maybe rubbed my eye in the process – and the next thing I knew, I was in tears begging to have my head removed from my body as I was sure it was on the verge of complete explosion. I had never felt such a searing discomfort before in my life.
Lessons learned! The little red peppers are not sweet like the big ones. Simple enough.
But I was ready to brave these hot chilis again. I had started introducing cayenne into recipes a few years ago and my partner sprinkles cayenne on just about everything. I also instruct “a pinch of cayenne” in many recipes as more than salt even, spicy is a personal preference.
I have always loved the idea of a spicy green curry using full fat (always use full fat!) coconut milk in it. It’s almost like building a fire and having the bucket of water built in. The coconut milk in green curry works with the spice to maintain the flavour but remove the mouth searing pain.
Making green curry paste
When I started researching green curries, and making my own green curry paste, it was clear that I was going to need some green chilis. This was the pepper listed in every recipe I looked at. But do you know how many kinds of green chilis there are? Likely about the same as the number of tears I shed when I burnt my head off biting into that chili many moons ago.
As it turns out, there is a chili pepper commonly referred as a Green Chili.
It looks like this.
The spicy heat of chiles is rated on something called the “Scoville Scale”. According to Wiki: “The number of Scoville heat units indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes”.
Sounds painful right?
The Green Chile or Chili Verde I used for this green curry dish are certainly not the hottest kids on the block (or peppers on the vine) but they were perfect for me. Use this handy dandy chart to decide what you want to venture into. (Source)
Now because I was traumatized for life by my first hot chili eating contest where I was the only one participating, I donned latex gloves to slice, dice and deseed my chilies. Perhaps not necessary but be sure you wash your hands really, really well and keep them away from eyes and private spots! Also remember – the seeds are like little spice bombs so if you are uncertain of how much heat you can handle, deseed your peppers or start with just a few. Learn more about chili peppers here.
Health Benefits of Chili Peppers
Now, aside from adding a delightfully delicious kick to your dish, chilis also add a delightfully delicious kick to your health. Chili peppers:
- Fight migraines and sinus pain
- Help prevent Sinusitis and relieve congestion
- Help lower high blood pressure
- Fight inflammation
- Soothe the intestines (contrary to popular belief that they make digestive stuff worse – moderation my friends)
- Give a boost to metabolism
- Power packed with vitamin C
- Warm your feet and hands by promoting circulation, which also means they can give an extra firmness to gentleman (wink, wink)
So now that you had your lesson on hot chili peppers, I now feel it is time for you to cook. Ready, set, Green Curry Magic!