The different types of chillies

These chillies are commonly available in Australian supermarkets! Learn the differences between them, how hot they are, how to deseed them and much more.

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The different types of chillies

It seems that the hotter the weather, the spicier the cuisine! Think Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and India. This is for two reasons: Chillies grow well in hot climates, so there’s an abundance available. And did you know in some cultures they’ll nibble on chillies or eat hot food specifically to cool down? It seems counterintuitive, but eating spicy foods can make you sweat, cooling you down!

Chillies are in season in Australia from December to April, but are easily available all year around. So whatever the weather, you can get cooking with chillies. Here are the different types that you can find at supermarkets in Australia.

Varieties of chillies

There are many varieties of chillies, these are just some of the most common. They're listed here from mildest to hottest, but like fruits can vary in sweetness, chillies can vary in spice. It's always good to try how hot your chillies are to see how much you need to add to your cooking.

Ball chilli

Available in green or red. A round cherry-shaped chilli that’s mild and good for stuffing. 

Long red and green chillies

Usually milder in heat than other chillies, but the heat can vary. These versatile chillies are good to use in a variety of sauces, salads, stir-fries and salsas.

Bird's eye chilli

These little missiles of heat pack a punch in both flavour and spice. 2-4cm long and red or green with tightly packed seeds, these are common in Southeast Asian cooking. Find them crushed in Indonesian sambals, Thai curry pastes, Vietnamese sauces and finely sliced as a side or garnish.

Jalapeno chilli

These chillies are bigger and fleshier than bird’s eye chillies, but they’re just as spicy. Mostly used when green, but turn red when mature. They’re commonly used in Mexican cuisine for guacamole, salsas and chilli con carne. Smoked and dried jalapenos are known as chipotle chillies.

Habanero chilli

This roundish and wrinkled looking chilli can create havoc with its spice level. The hottest on this list, they’re often used to make hot sauce but you can use them in stir-fries and as a garnish. Available in a range of colours from green through to yellow and red.

 

How to deseed chillies

Now you know the difference between them, it's time to get cooking!

What you need to deseed chillies

1. Small, sharp knife
2. A teaspoon
3. Chopping board
 
Optional: gloves
 
If you’re chopping lots of chillies or very spicy chillies, gloves will avoid stains and spice on your hands. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after cutting chillies, and never touch sensitive areas like eyes after handling cut chillies.
 
 
 
 
 

Recipes with chillies

It's time to bring the spice with these recipes! Now you know the difference in heat between different chillies, you can customise your cooking to suit yourself.

GET THE RECIPE: Malaysian Chicken Satay Banh Mi

Freshly cut chilli is a must-have topping for banh mi.

 

GET THE RECIPE: Vegetable Red Thai Curry

Add an extra dimension of flavour and colour to this stunning curry with a sprinkle of sliced red chilli.

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