The Pantry


Chilies: Can you take the heat?

Scoville Scale

Source: Huffington Post

I have been using chilies for many years in most of my recipes. It really spices up any dishes, simply slice one or two Thai bird’s eyes chilies or a few drops of Tabasco sauce into your dish.The flavors of any chilies greatly vary from one to the other and whether they are dried or not. Hints of Tabaco and fruits, amongst others can come through. Add a few dried chilies to a good olive oil and you have yourself a great spicy oil working perfectly with a pizza.

Additionally, the heat factors greatly vary from one chili to the other with most of the heat concentrated in the seeds. Any chili heat factor can be measured on the Scoville scale. In a nutshell, your basic green / red or yellow pepper heat factor is close to nothing while the most spicy one, the Ghost has a heat factor of over 1 million.

Now lets go to the chilies, I have been using for many years.

The green / yellow or red peppers.

Basic Pepper

No heat at all and perfect in salad or cooked. I love to use them with a simple pork dish where the pepper has been roasted for some time making it very juicy and a bit caramelised.



A very mild heat and perfect with wraps or salad. This is the kind of chili that you will be eating in any good Lebanese restaurants as a pickle for a kebab.



Moderate heat and perfect for tacos. They have a tick flesh and round edges but sadly not that easy to find in Hong Kong. I love having them with my fish tacos as it gives just enough bite to spice the dish up.



Ever heard about the Piri Piri Sauce? Guess what, this is the chili used for the sauce. Often, you will also find them in your pizza spicy oil but they can be used to marinate your meat for a BBQ.

Thai bird’s-eye chili

Chili Padi

I, basically, use them everywhere to spice up all my dishes. It is often said that the tinier the chili is, the spicier it is. This is definitely reality in this case. I cannot get enough of those. One hint of advice: avoid touching your eyes after cutting one of them as the heat sticks around for some time.



A big heat factor pretty much three times the Thai Bird’s eye chili. You better have a light hand when using them in your ceviches, salsas or curries.