Friday, March 14, 2014

What do we need to know about chilies?

How does one look for good quality chilies? :                                                                                                                                                                1. Check the weight. Heavier the better because it ensures that the seeds are retained.  The seeds ensure the spice so the more seeds the better. The ones without seeds are commonly known as ‘pokea’ (hollow) in the local language.                                                                                  2, By a general yardstick chilies grown in Goa have a thicker skin compared to the ones obtained from across the border.


Why does the spicy feeling take place in our palate?                                                        Endorphins are released into the body when the brain responds to capsaicin, a chemical contained in the pod which causes them to be hot. When eaten the chemical is released into the mouth where nerve endings set off an alarm in the brain. The brain believes that the body is in distress and pain and the immediate reactions …the mouth and eyes water, the heartbeat increases, the nose begins to drip and the head perspires.

The Aldona chili
Chili’s are known as Mirsang in Konkani. Although many local varieties of chilies were used in the past, we have sourced out the ones commonly used in the preparations today. In all three cuisines for curries chilies are normally ground in the masala and used whole for dry preparations ‘Tondak’. In Saraswat and Hindu Goan cuisine the chilies are normally roasted before being ground, The Saraswat also makes a ‘sambar’ which is a type of garam masala with chilies.  

Pic by Nolan Mascarenhas

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