India is the land of spices. For the majority of Indians, a dish lacking in spice or chillies is unfathomable. Most dishes served across India use chillies in some or the other way. Besides the unique taste and aroma, chillies in India also have various health and medicinal properties. If eaten moderately, the Indian chilli is said to be good for one’s health. There are over 400 varieties of chilli in the world.
History of Chillies in India
Indian chilli history is pretty interesting! Even though chillies are largely used in Indian cuisine, they are not native to India. Chillies originated in Northeastern Mexico. Researchers have found evidence of 6000 years old cultivations of Chilli in Mexico. Later on, the chilli cultivation spread to North and South America, as civilizations started expanding their settlements and trade routes. The Portuguese introduced the first chillies to India in the 15th century. These Portuguese traders pushed their trade in India and other Southeast Asian countries. That’s broadly how chillies came to India. The traders used the well-known spice route to export chillies in the exchange of Black Pepper and other Indian spices.
Indian Varieties of Chilli
Various types of Indian Chillies are popular across the world. Each type has a unique flavour and is used in different dishes. The varieties of chillies found in India include Kashmiri chilli, Guntur chilli, Jwala, so on and so forth. Here are the most popular varieties of chillies:
Kashmiri Chili is one of the most popular varieties of chillies and is widely used as a colour agent in many dishes. Red chilli powder from Kashmir is usually mild and is a must-have Indian spice. This variety of chilli is found in Kashmir and is the most sought after red chilli in India. The Kashmiri chilly is generally less hot or pungent, as compared to the other varieties of chillies found in India.
The Guntur variety of chillies is native to the Guntur district of Andra Pradesh. Guntur is the main producer and exporter of most varieties of chillies and chilli powder from India to various countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Middle East, South Korea, UK, USA and Latin America. Andhra Pradesh is thus known for its spicy dishes. Guntur Sannam, a type of Guntur chilli, is also cultivated in Madhya Pradesh.
The Jwala chilli, also known as finger hot pepper, is largely grown in Kheda, Mehsana and southern parts of Gujarat. This chilli is green in colour but turns red once it matures. This variety of chilli can even be grown at home. The Jwala chilli is easily available in the market throughout the year and very pungent in flavour.
The Byadgi variety of Chillies, grown in Karnataka is a popular variety of chilli. This variety is named after the town of Bydagi, located in the Haveri district of Karnataka. The Byadgi variety is known for its colour and pungency. This variety of chilli is known to be similar to paprika.
Boria Chillies are a variety of chillies especially known for their shape. These berry-sized chillies possess a moderate level of pungency. This variety of chillies is popularly used as Tadka for various Dals and Kadhis. The Boria variety chillies are dark red in colour and have a moderately spicy taste.
The Sankeshwari Chillies come from a place called Sankeshwar in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. This variety of chillies is widely used in Maharashtrian cuisine, especially in coastal cuisine. It’s a very spicy variety of chilli, often blended with different dry masalas to make the traditional garam masala powder. This variety of chillies is especially used in Fish Curries, Chicken Curries, Vegetables.
- Naga & Bhut Jolokia
The Naga and Bhut Jolokia chillies are the spiciest varieties of chillies in the world. These varieties of chillies are cultivated in the Northeastern States of India including states like Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur. As this variety is too hot to taste, it isn’t used regularly in Indian cuisine. Various regional communities use these peppers to make chutneys, curries, and pickles.
The Mathanias chillies are known for their use in Laal Maas, which is one of the most popular curries in Rajasthan. This variety of chillies bring vibrant colours to the dish and makes it appealing to the eyes. Due to the limited popularity of the Mathania variety of chillies its usage is limited to the regional dishes only. These chillies are usually red in colour and very spicy.
The Bhavnagari Chillies are primarily not hot peppers. Thus, it is easier to tolerate the heat. These chillies are usually green in colour and have a mildly Spicy or Moderately Spicy taste. This variety of chillies is popularly used in Bharwan Mirchi, Mirchi Pakoda and such other dishes.
Kanthari is known as the Bird’s Eye variety of chilli. This variety of chillies is widely found in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Meghalaya. It’s a highly pungent variety of chillies and is not known for any significant cooking use. This variety is generally green and red in colour and is very spicy. It is popularly used in Kanthari Mulaku Chammanthi (Chutney), Kanthari Uppilittathu (Pickle) and Kerala’s Chicken Curry.
The Longi variety of chillies is found in Bhujia or any other Namkeen snacks. This variety of chillies is not extremely pungent, but it’s good enough to leave the mark on your palate. These chillies are red in colour and spicy in taste. They are used in many Veg. and Non-Veg. Curries, Namkeen Snacks.
Red Chillies Exporters in India
JRP Impex is one of the leading Indian Chilli exporters in India. They help their clients export various food products including nuts, spices, grains, herbs, so on and so forth. The executives at JRP assist the clients with every step on the way right from documentation until the final delivery of the products.