Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Red Hot Chilli Peppers by Arvind Mallya

Don't get me wrong and think I am deviating from food and writing about the Rock Group RHCP here! I am talking about real red hot chilli peppers grown in my garden.

Chillies have always fascinated me. I love hot stuff being a typical South Indian born Konkani guy now settled in the temperate climate of California USA. Thankfully, my wife Karen and my father in law have stood by me when I did my gardening bit. I grow peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables in my home garden. I love to see things grow and that took 2 months. Here are some of the Hot Peppers from my garden. The degree of heat is mild to hot from left to right. The Cayenne pepper is the mildest and Mexican Habanero is the hottest.

We do have a slightly longer season starting in May through August and sometimes September. It has been cool in California, USA and these peppers are really easy to grow, I have 2-3 plants of each in pots and some in the ground, but the one which do well are the ones in pots as the black plastic pots absorb heat and make it grow. We get all seedlings and some I grew from seed. I grow them with a good artificial fertilizer under filtered shade to medium sun. The Chinese long is the Indian we are used to but I don't find them hot here. The Habanero here is deadly.
I want to get the Bhooth Jolokia some day and also the Gandhar, I tried it did not come well my brother gave me the seeds of Gandhar, tiny peppers but incredibly hot. Yes all peppers are from my limited garden, we have a Gopher(A kind of rodent that lives underground) and loves my chilli plant and cucumbers more than I do. So I plant many things in pots and in a raised bed with wire mesh. Last year I grew more chillies, this year 2 plants of each and I have a bumper crop, I dry them in the sun and also have a small dehydrator..and use them in winter. I found the Fresno to be very hot, right next to the Thai dragon.
I have planted this year Bhooth Jalookia that's doing well, I have 2 of that and a Habanero the hottest variety, this year I also have a yellow banana pepper. I have a bottle of the Bhooth Jalookia just have to touch the tip of the fork and touch your tongue and it sets it on fire. In soups I need less then half a drop and it is fiery hot.
Gujarati Pickle: Karen's homemade pickle from home grown chillies; Pickle is from Gujarath India called Raiwal Marcha. Karen made it from a book Pickles and Chutneys of India by Rita D'Souza made for Wyeth Pharma and presented by a good friend Mr B.M. Mohan in India. The pickle is Raiwala Marcha from Gujarath normally it is stuffed green chillies she just chopped the red ones I grew, she has her own Gujju style, ground the mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric, coriander, cumin and salt and lemon juice.
Chilli, Zucchini, Potato Bhujias(Fritters): We made these by mixing half  each of besan and rice flour and then adding chilli powder, hing and salt. It came out crunchy and really tasty.
Konkani Hinga Mirsang(Asafoetida Chilli) pickle: Chillies are a combination of home grown hot to mild varieties. Credit goes to my dear wife Karen Mallya who made this from a recipe sent by Anuradha Mudalagiri Kamath and her brother Panduranga Rao B.

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