What makes Indian food spicy?
Indian cuisine has some of the spiciest dishes on the world menu. Most of my cooking class clients ask me the same question. "What makes Indian food spicy?" And the answer to the question is just two words - "Thai green chili" and "Chili powder". You might be wondering why an ingredient used in Indian cuisine is named "Thai green chili". That's because the kind of chili we use in our cooking is commonly called as "Thai green chili" in America. Back in India we call it "Pachai milagai" in Tamil(my native language) .
The next ingredient which makes Indian food spicy is "Chili Powder" . This is one of the most commonly used ingredient in indian cuisine. I have to let you know that the chili powder you find in an American grocery store is totally different from the chili powder I am referring to. Because the chili powder we find in the American grocery store is used to make the dish Chili (Beef chili or Bean chili) . The chili powder I am referring to can be found in an Indian grocery store. This is one of the staple spice powders in an Indian household. In Fact when I visit India my mom or mother in law will buy dry red chilies and grind it into a powder in a flour mill for me. I love using the fresh chili powder which I bring from India. It makes the dishes taste amazing.
Every time I start teaching a cooking class, I ask my clients for their spice level preference. Because by adjusting the amount of green chili and chili powder in the recipe we can make a dish mild, medium or spicy. Majority of my cooking class clients ask for mild or medium and few people ask for spicy. No matter the level of heat in a dish the flavor always remains the same. Because apart from the green chili and chili powder we use other spices which give the authentic indian taste to the dish.
Hope you enjoyed reading my blog! Please share your questions and comments about Indian food and culture in the comment section. I would be happy to answer them. If you would like to learn to cook Indian food, please click here to sign up for my private virtual cooking class.