Chili Pepper Madness

Thai Chili Peppers

Thai Chili Peppers Thai Chili Peppers

50,000 - 100,000 Scovilles.

Despite the common belief, there is no single "Thai chili pepper" though most candidates for the title are small in size and high in heat or pungency. There are at least 79 separate varieties of chili that have appeared from three species in Thailand. While the names of chili peppers are often "hotly" debated and therefore in a volatile state of flux the world over, some would say that there is particular confusion when the subject comes around to Thai peppers.

Prik num or "banana peppers," for instance, also resemble a New Mexican pepper, and they are also grown in Kashmir, India, and thus are also known as Kashmir peppers. Further confusion arises because the Kashmir is ALSO known as the Sriracha, a name associated with the famous sauce originally made from these peppers in the Thai seaside town of the same name.

Oddly, the peppers now featuring in the sauce known around the world as Sriracha are red Serrano peppers! At least in agricultural terms, we specify that two types of chili peppers grow for harvest in Thailand: the prik khee nu or "bird pepper" and the prik khee fah or plain "chili pepper."

Whatever the case regarding names, Thai chili peppers usually turn up ground from fresh to add heat to curry pastes for very spicy dishes and for very colorful dishes at the same time - the traditional Thai cook being as interested in presentation as the traditional Japanese cook, for instance, and therefore garnishing hot dishes with a pleasing array of hot peppers.

Thai chili peppers also appear in other Asian cuisine including that of Myanmar, where they are known as nga yut thee, frequently featuring in curries, as well as in balachuang, a spicy relish never absent from any meal. Laotian cuisine utilizes similar peppers and calls them mak phet; they appear in pastes and even end up stuffed and steamed to create spicy vegetable and fish dishes.

Related peppers are also known to be favored in Cambodia, and are widespread in Vietnam where they enliven pastes and sauces, especially those with local fish flavors, of course.


  • Comment Link john July 13, 2017 posted by john

    great stuff mike

  • Comment Link Valerie Langford March 28, 2017 posted by Valerie Langford

    I have been trying to buy Thai yellow chili sauce and have given up and want to make it myself. It is a golden sauce, it is not hot. Now I am not sure what peppers to grow...any suggestions and growing tips would be much appreciated.

    REPLY: Valerie, there are yellow and orange Thai peppers out there. Do a search for them for seed resources. Here's a link to the orange variety: -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Erin February 06, 2017 posted by Erin

    None of the stores near me carry the red Thai chili peppers. What is a similar type of pepper? Is habenero close? It's for a soup. Thanks for any help!

    REPLY: Erin, you can try cayenne peppers, or any hotter red chili. Habaneros can work, though be ready for the extra heat. Serranos can work in a pinch, as they are more common, though the color difference will affect the final presentation. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Steven.Hetletvedt August 08, 2016 posted by Steven.Hetletvedt

    I have a batch of Thai Chili Peppers. They are Green and Beautiful. how long does it take for them to start to turn red in order to make the foods I eat much better. Please advise.


    REPLY: Stephen, Thai peppers typically take about 80 days to mature. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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Mike Hultquist of Chili Pepper Madness

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Hi, Everyone! It is nice to meet you. Welcome to Chili Pepper Madness, the food blog run by Mike and Patty Hultquist, a couple of spicy food lovers. Chili Pepper Madness is a special tribute to all things chili peppers, including chili pepper recipes... LEARN MORE ABOUT US


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