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Since I run out of my regular supply of home made fermented chili paste more than my menu tolerates, I started planting chili bushes that were hotter than my usual  cultivation -- in the hope I'd use less.

With my ferment still in the crock I began picking from the chili bushes to go into my dishes neat.

And I'm feeling the change in a sort of bondage/masochistic way.

Chilies are, in fact, analgesic -- or rather, capsaicum is.

While I'm certain the acute pain of a chili in the mouth may distract you from any of your other ailments,  the research is there about its efficacy.

I've just eaten a whole Habanero in my soup de jure  and I'm still alive...invigorated and breathing lustily.

It's like a meditative Zen afterglow.

The challenge for me is handling the  complication that others within the fam are chili-hostile -- especially in the mouth!

You'd think I'd punched them there on purpose, given the way they do go on...

I traditionally worked around this by creating a chili paste that was PREDICTABLE  within a dish-- one that I could  later add to and personalise at table for my good self's hit-of-capsaicum preferences.

They still complained. One half teaspoon more and they reckon I've poisoned them!

But you only live once. I do anyway.

Why pander to the plebs?

I'm gonna henceforth have one chili taste for THEM and indulge myself with  under-the-counter reserved stock for myself.

If you want to join me in this quest, this SITE is a great resource.

Ironic fact: chilies grow better in the backyard garden than do 'capsicums'.

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Comment by Dave Riley on July 25, 2019 at 19:09

What an awesome lifestyle, Cres!

I've limited myself to fermenting chili buys and harvests a few times per year and working my way through the tasty sauce one meal at  a time. Base recipe -- best I've used.

Recently I started adding chili to my hot (pure) cocoa (with my Turmeric blend ) and it's quite a nice hit in the lead up to bed time.

Elsewhere, when making kimchi, I've been surprised how mild Gochugaru (the core Korean pepper) is -- or maybe it's just me. But it's essential to the construction of kimchi and you use so much of it!  Gochugaru makes kimchi red.

Anyway, tonight's chili was Cuban style black beans with tacos . I put some chili in the beans but had to plop an extra  dollop on my plate. Otherwise...I only get into trouble.

Comment by Cres on July 25, 2019 at 17:38

Susan: My condolences on the chilli torture you experienced as a child. Your brother has a lot to answer for, given the lifetime of aversion to amazing chilli dishes he's caused! I still recommend using a single med-mild chilli, removing the top bit along with white pith and seeds and cooking with it. Some friends put it in whole, remove it halfway during the cooking as part of the weaning in process. Adding a bit of sugar also helps temper the heat. I say this to not for increasing your chilli street cred, it's more to open up a whole world of amazing foods that you're missing out on.

Jeff : I haven't tried evaporating the alcohol. I have done infusions and consumed many chilli vodka shots and chilli spiced rums neat and also used in cocktails. Like all cocktails it has to be a good recipe. I had a nice chilli, lychee and lime one last summer that was perfectly balanced.

The same hit and miss with Chilli Chocolate, either as bars as well as hot chocolate with chilli (Aztec/ Mexican recipe). Once again there are good and bad versions.

I not into "Eating chillies as a contest", I don't personally seek the pain but ironically I do get great pleasure from the intense heat and find it increases the deliciousness of the dish. In fact there are many dishes that need intensely hot chillies to showcase their amazing authentic flavour. I find this especially true with Sichuan cooking. Also I can't do raw chillies. They need to be cooked, even if just Ceviche style in a vinegar. Else it goes straight through me, intensely hot or not. Never fun.

I love green chillies in particular dishes Eg chopped up in yoghurt or in omelettes. In others the fruitiness of red chillies is required. I couldn't pick one chilli from another, but I do notice subtle different flavours.

If I'm doing large batches of super hot chillies I use an enclosed blending bowl like the one on the left. The exhaust fan is on and I have at times warned the neighbour that there may be vapours (his kids sometimes play in the carport near the exhaust).  Anything else I just chop, mortar& pestle or stick blend in the high blending jar (right).  Ultimately Murphy's Law kicks in and the desire to scratch my face increases exponentially with the amount of chilli on my fingers.

I definitely used gloves when I made this Peri Peri Chicken marinade. It still permeated through the surgical gloves! While it was a hassle taking them on and off for the photos it was worth it not to chillify my camera.

This Canadian guy's Food Ranger Youtube channel is one of my favourites. He has a massive following. Short little high quality videos offering a very personable insight into so many spicy foods from different cultures.
I spend far too long salivating over the street foods shown. While there's no recipes it provides a lot of inspiration for combinations of ingredients I'd not usually think of.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on July 25, 2019 at 6:20

Capsaicin is  soluble in alcohol  have you tried  using as a solvent  and evaporate off the alcohol.

Comment by Dave Riley on July 24, 2019 at 21:38

It is nice to know that "Capsaicin does not have anything to do with your taste buds, which perceive only salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (MSG) flavors. Rather, there are capsaicin receptors in your mouth and tongue that are triggered by capsaicin and send pain signals to the brain. Capsaicin does not permanently destroy taste buds as, like hair, they are being constantly replaced by the body."(ref)

But I find if you are blending hot chili peppers in a blender you need to keep your face away from the opening as the vapours are over powering when  you breathe them in. In industry, Capsaicin is a strong irritant requiring proper protective goggles, respirators, and proper hazardous material-handling procedures.

So why eat this toxic stuff?

It's not a macho thing as i usually indulge in private.

I love peppers -- capsicum and capsaicim. They are my favorite 'fruit'.


"To call spicy food “addictive” is an exaggeration; it is not nearly as addictive as nicotine or caffeine. It is, unlike nicotine or caffeine, not viciously addictive in the sense that it entails a physical dependence. Abstinence from Indian curry will not make you terribly anxious and erratic, which is what abstinence from nicotine can do.

However, the neurological effects that capsaicin imparts still cause some impulsive part of us to crave it and, more often than not, yield to the temptation!

Remember that capsaicin tricks the brain into thinking that the body is being subjected to immense heat and therefore, immense pain. To relieve us of this pain, our brain secretes neurotransmitters called endorphins, which are commonly referred to as the body’s natural pain and stress relievers.

Endorphins abate pain by inhibiting a nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. What’s more, simultaneously, the brain also secretes dopamine, the neurotransmitter that elicits feelings of reward and pleasure in us. It is this cocktail of neurotransmitters that renders us euphoric or provides us with what is commonly called the “runner’s high”. The spicier the food, the greater the pain, the more severe is the compulsion to abate this pain and therefore, the greater the sense of euphoria induced.ILINK)

Comment by Susan on July 24, 2019 at 18:28

Lol Cres- that made me burst out laughing.   

I am a sook when it comes to chilli.  It may have come from as a youngster, one of my brothers forced a birds eye chilli into my mouth.  Joke was on him though.  Mum gave me a whole bowl of ice cream and he had to sit in front of me while I ate it. 

My my dad is the chilli fiend and I suggested to mum that I get him some of the rarer Uber hot chilli’s for a Christmas pressie.  She banned me from doing it as she said I’d give him a heart attack. 

Comment by Dave Riley on July 24, 2019 at 8:10

The Mexican taste for chili amazes me.

In Asia any recipe will say 'add chili' but maybe rule on the colour. In  Trinidad you are asked to add one chili which you cook whole then break up. That way -- given the dangers of the local very hot product -- you are in control.

But in Mexico you are asked to add two of those, one of that and some more of another...It is a very nuanced firing.

Then there is the Slav tradition of eating them pickled.

Or the Korean -- of eating them whole and raw like a carrot. Mind you, that is a particular species.Not habenero, ghost et al.

I don't have the mouth to become a chili snob.Obviously, I can detect flavour nuances... But I surew respect aficionados.

But for newbies I recommend getting some chipotle which is a smoke-dried ripe chile pepper. Not so hot, I reckon, but offering a delicious and unique flavour enriched by the fact that the original chilis can be a harvest of different varieties.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on July 23, 2019 at 18:45

I always thought capsaicin was a strong acid which would explain why yoghurt and milk would cool it (acid vs base).  It's not true!  Capsaicin is actually a base itself.  Just ask Dave here:

Comment by Cres on July 23, 2019 at 14:38

I've had many friends insist that it's impossible for them to eat hot food. I explain that they need to start in small quantities and regularly. Most of them now can eat extremely hot dishes and slather hot sauces on everything. For me it's a relief that menu items don't have to be dumbed down and the table can be filled with more spicy dishes than bland.

I had some Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Peppers) earlier this year in a curry thinking it would destroy me given its 1mill Scoville rating. In the end it wasn't that bad, it made sense that a single Jolokia replaced the equivalent 4-6 Habaneros that I'd been using previously. I now put two in, but I still do not touch it with bare skin during processing/chopping.

A few days ago I had a Naga Chilli Pickle that would be in my personal top five hottest chilli experiences. I've had 40+ years of eating spicy foods and trying super hot chillies but this had the added bonus of painfully enlightening me for the first time ever, to the fact that the human body will purge capsaicin in noticeable form via pee. I will be using the rest of the jar perhaps as a cooking ingredient rather than a condiment.

My collection of Super Hot chilli plants  -Carolina Reapers, Trinidad Scorpions and Bhut Jolokia plants have not survived. I'm hoping some seeds are still floating around in my seed saving tubs. The only chilli plant I have is a young Habanero in my kerbside wicking bed.

Most people don't use chillies in the quantities I do so fortunately that means they're okay with raiding their excess produce. I repay in kind with jars of processed chilli pastes made into manageable sauces.

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