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Thai Chili, Actually Not a Native…

Thai Chili, Actually Not a Native… - Krabi Magazine article

Thai Chili’s or Birds eye chilis, are believe it or not a native of Thailand, they actually originated from the west indies in the Caribbean sea where they have always been a part of the local staple diet. As a result of trading and the baby footprints of globalization and colonalization, the Spanish and Portuguese brought the hot spice through the Indian ocean and into Southeast  Asia.

old map of the world

In the general Indian ocean region India was actually the first country after trading with the merchants from Portugal, Holland and Spain to grow and use chilies in their everyday dishes. It is often assumed that the Chili grows naturally in India and Thailand, but this is not the case, yes it can grow there but it is not a native plant species. Imaging the Thai and Indian cuisine before the introduction of the potent and robust Birds eye chili? I personally cannot imagine Thai food without spice.

Red chilies contain high amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene making them both extremely healthy for your skin and vision. Yellow and especially green chili’s which are essentially unripe fruit and therefore  contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. Chili’s are also a good source of vitamin B in particular vitamin B6. They are also very high in potassium, magnesium and iron, making them a great healthy choice to add to any dish you can think of.

All hot chili peppers contain phytochemicals known collectively as capsaicinoids. These chemicals are reputed to have powerful health benefits such as helping protect the body against cancer, helping weight loss for the obese, reducing bad cholesterol in the bloodstream and they may even play a role in alleviating chronic pain due to the powerful analgesic effects of the capsaicinoids.

Chili’s strong and spicy taste has become a distinctive characteristic of Thai cuisine and can be found in nearly every dish you can get your hands on (nearly). Since its arrival in Thailand during the Ayuthaya era, more than 600 years ago, Thai cuisine has received influences from a number of foreign nations. India and has began to adopt the strong Chili flavours, diverging from earlier roots in a milder more bland cuisine, in which only local herbs such as garlic and onions dominated.

chilis bunched together

Chili’s have taken several hundred years to become an essential part of Thai food culture and has since become inseparable to most Thai dishes. Today Southeast  Asia is the main exporter of chillies to the rest of the world.