Thursday, 24 May 2012

The art of tasting chillies

I used to be very careful tasting chillies, might have even tasted them mixed with tomato juice or something, but I seem to get used to them.
Not that it is a problem, but every so often I am afraid that i will burn my taste buds right off from my tongue.

Sometimes I do think it is safe to just bite a chunk off from a chilli.
I normally do that just before dinner, just to taste what to use this chilli for.
Sometimes I see my son looking around the corner, I think he sneaks up at me to see if I  burn up. Lovely kid, because if I do burn up he hauls out the peanut butter or some milk, to get rid of the burn.

If I don’t burn up, he asks for a bite to taste it as well and he does give a proper description most of the times, or starts to play he is burning up. Lovely !

My daughter however when she tastes she gives a spot on description and doesn’t even blink if it is hot. She is only 6 years old but she will be looking at me as if to say 'It is not that hot' and then turn red, so I never let her taste the really hot ones.

I am wandering off again, so sorry.

The Tasting:

The art of tasting chillies, well, it really isn’t an art form, most of it is plain logic.
The hot parts in the chilli are the seed lists, and the embryological cord to the seeds.
Man that sounds sophisticated. If you cut a chilli in half you will see the seeds attached to a rib, and that is the part you don’t want to touch. The lighter part where the colour seems to change, is the hottest part of the chilli so try to avoid that part when tasting a chilli.

The saftest way is to taste the part in the middle between the seed lists.
If you expect it to be too hot for you, slice a thin part from in between the seed lists.
Mumble a bit on it, chew it if it isn’t too hot, and give it some time to hit your taste buds.
If you do this, you will be safe from burning too much, and guaranteed to get the full taste.
You will find when tasting different varieties of chillies that apart form the different heat sensations and levels you will taste a lot of different tastes. Some will be just fruity or have a slight herbish taste; some will have a great array of tastes or even taste like citrus.
Some will just taste hot, I am sorry to say that, but it is like that.

I have tasted some weird and exotic sorts, that will blow your mind.
Yes really, even some of the superhots have great taste, where heat and taste will match.
So, if these are to hot, you just need a little to give your dish good taste, flavor and heat.
The rest of the chilli you can simply freeze, and cut a part off, and use frozen.
They even slice better when frozen, so make slices and pop in your new dish!

If you taste them, you might notice that some of the chillies have a distinct taste that belongs to a culture. Still it doesn’t hurt to use them in another style; I used Korean chillies in an Italian dish, tasting superb.

Handling the burn when it does get to hot:

If you do burn up even after taking this advice there are ways to get rid of the burning sensation:

Do not use water to get rid of the burn, it makes it worse!!
Use peanut butter, peanut oil, milk or yoghurt as a matter of fact any oil or fat will help, this is because the chemical that gives chillies thier heat (Capsaicin) disolves in fat but not in water.

So what ever your antidote of choice simply rinse your mouth a bit with it, and swallow a small amount. Bread helps as well, if it is not too hot. When I have made Chili con Carne that is a bit too hot, I serve it with bread at the side.

You can also mix your chilli in peanut butter to taste, if you think it’ll be too hot.
I sometimes blender a piece in tomato juice, and that is lovely too.

Talking about peanut butter, ha no.
Next time !!

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Images created by and (c) Copyright 2012 Paul R Boon, All Rights Reserved.


  1. Just a few grains of pure salt on your tongue and the heat disappears immediately.

    1. I will have to give that a try, thanks for the tip !

      Cheers Bart

  2. great advice!!!--haqimi