What is Bird’s Eye Chili? Origins, Taste, and Health Benefits

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Bird’s eye chili, bird’s chili or Thai chili is a chili pepper, a cultivar from the species Capsicum annuum, commonly found in Southeast Asia. It is often confused with a similar-looking chili derived from the species Capsicum frutescens, the cultivar ‘siling labuyo’. Bird’s eye chili can also be found in India, in Meghalaya and Kerala; it is used in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine. This cultivar is also found in rural areas of Sri Lanka, where it is used as a substitute for green chilis. It is also a main ingredient in kochchi sambal, a salad made using freshly scraped coconut ground with bird’s eye chilis and seasoned with salt and lime juice. It is used extensively in Thai, Lao, Khmer, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine. Some English speakers also refer to this cultivar as Thai hot, Thai dragon, and boonie pepper.

Bird’s eye chili is a chili pepper that’s small and tapered with a Scoville rating of 50,000 to 100,000. It originated in Southeast Asia and is the spiciest chili pepper in the world. It’s also known as Thai chili or chili padi.

Let’s look at everything you need to know about this spicy little pepper.

What is Bird's Eye Chili

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Getting to Know Bird’s Eye Chili: A Spicy Madness

Bird’s Eye Chili, also known as Thai Chili or Chili Padi, is a small, tapered, and fiery hot pepper that originated in Southeast Asia. It is one of the spiciest chili peppers in the world, measuring between 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

How to Identify Bird’s Eye Chili Plants?

Bird’s Eye Chili plants are perennial and can grow up to 3 feet tall. The leaves are green and glossy, and the fruits grow in clusters. The plant produces small white flowers, and the fruits start to appear a couple of months after planting.

What are the Different Varieties of Bird’s Eye Chili?

There are several varieties of Bird’s Eye Chili, including the African Bird’s Eye Chili, which is longer and hotter than the Thai variety. The Comte de Paris is a rare and highly rated variety that is said to have a nice fruity flavor.

How to Pick and Store Bird’s Eye Chili?

When buying Bird’s Eye Chili, look for peppers that are firm, shiny, and free of blemishes. Store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze them for longer storage.

What are Some Tips for Cooking with Bird’s Eye Chili?

  • Use gloves when handling Bird’s Eye Chili to avoid getting the spicy oils on your skin.
  • Use Bird’s Eye Chili sparingly, as a little goes a long way.
  • Bird’s Eye Chili is great for adding heat to sauces, soups, and stir-fries.
  • Try this recipe for Spicy Pork with Bird’s Eye Chili and Sherry Vinegar.

Discovering the Roots of Bird’s Eye Chili

According to Wiki, Bird’s Eye Chili was first known to the western world when Portuguese traders brought it to Europe from their Asian expeditions in the 16th century. The chili pepper quickly became popular in the region and was used to bring heat to different dishes.

Closing Thoughts

Bird’s Eye Chili is a small but powerful chili pepper that can bring a sweet and spicy flavor to your food. Thankfully, it is easy to store and use, making it a favorite among those who love to cook and eat tasty food. If you want to add a bit of heat to your dishes, then you need to know more about Bird’s Eye Chili. Let this article be your address for all the useful information you need about this pepper.

What’s the Flavor of Bird’s Eye Chili?

Bird’s Eye Chili is a popular ingredient in many dishes, and it’s commonly used to add heat and flavor to meat and seafood. Here are some of the best ways to use Bird’s Eye Chili:

  • Add it to sauces and spreads to create a delicious and spicy flavor.
  • Use it as a substitute for other types of chili peppers in recipes.
  • Mix it with other spices to create a unique flavor profile.
  • Use it as a topping for pizza or other dishes that need a little bit of heat.

Bird’s Eye Chili Substitutes

If you can’t find Bird’s Eye Chili or simply can’t handle the heat, there are some alternatives you can use. Here are some substitutes for Bird’s Eye Chili:

  • Cayenne pepper: This pepper is slightly less hot than Bird’s Eye Chili, but it has a similar flavor profile.
  • Serrano pepper: This pepper is a bit larger than Bird’s Eye Chili, but it has a similar heat level and flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes: These are a good alternative if you don’t have any fresh chilies on hand. They’re not as flavorful as Bird’s Eye Chili, but they’ll add some heat to your dishes.

Cooking with Bird’s Eye Chiles: A Spicy Guide

  • Bird’s Eye Chiles are small, red, and shiny with a typical length of 1-2 inches.
  • They are sold fresh or dried and are extensively used in Thai, Indonesian, and other Southeast Asian countries.
  • When buying fresh bird’s eye chiles, choose firm ones with attached stems and avoid those with wrinkles or soft spots.
  • To prepare bird’s eye chiles, carefully remove the stems and cut them into small pieces. If you want less heat, remove the seeds and membranes.
  • Be sure to wear gloves when working with bird’s eye chiles as they can cause a chemical sting that can stay on your fingers for hours.

Storing Bird’s Eye Chilies: Tips and Tricks

Bird’s eye chilies are a popular ingredient in many dishes featuring tons of different kinds of meat and vegetables. They are small, thin, and pack a lot of heat, making them perfect for adding a spicy kick to any dish. However, if not stored properly, bird’s eye chilies can quickly lose their flavour and heat, and even go bad. Here are some reasons why proper storage is important:

  • Prevents spoilage: Bird’s eye chilies have a high moisture content, which means they can spoil quickly if not stored correctly. This can cause the chilies to turn mushy, slimy, and develop a bad odour.
  • Maintains flavour and heat: Bird’s eye chilies are known for their extreme spiciness, and their flavour can vary depending on the variety and how they are prepared. Proper storage can help maintain their flavour and heat, ensuring that they taste great in any dish.
  • Allows for extended use: If you want to use bird’s eye chilies in different dishes over an extended period, proper storage is essential. This means you can buy them in bulk and store them for later use.

Why Bird’s Eye Chili is a Great Addition to Your Diet

Bird’s Eye Chili is not just a fiery addition to your dishes, it also offers tons of health benefits. Here are some of the positive effects of consuming bird’s eye chili:

  • Helps prevent heart diseases: According to research, the capsaicin in bird’s eye chili can lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels, which supports heart health.
  • Supports weight loss: Bird’s Eye Chili has a thermogenic effect, which means it can increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, leading to weight loss.
  • Boosts enzyme production: The capsaicin in bird’s eye chili can stimulate the production of enzymes that help break down food, which can aid in digestion.
  • Provides plenty of water: Bird’s Eye Chili is 90% water, which can help keep you hydrated.

Easy to Add to Your Dishes

Bird’s Eye Chili is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some ways to use bird’s eye chili:

  • Finely chop fresh bird’s eye chili and mix it with other ingredients to create a spicy sauce or marinade.
  • Add a dash of dried bird’s eye chili to soups, stews, or stir-fries for an extra kick of heat.
  • Mix bird’s eye chili with other spices to create a traditional spice blend for meat dishes.
  • Prepare a fiery bird’s eye chili salsa by mixing chopped chili with tomatoes, onions, and other ingredients.
  • Use bird’s eye chili to make a sweet and spicy glaze for meat or vegetables.

Easy to Store and Handle

Bird’s Eye Chili can be stored and handled easily. Here are some tips:

  • Store fresh bird’s eye chili in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Dried bird’s eye chili can be stored in an airtight container for up to six months.
  • When handling bird’s eye chili, be sure to wear gloves to prevent the fiery oils from affecting your skin.
  • To remove the seeds and membrane from bird’s eye chili, simply cut off the stem and slice the chili in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane.

In conclusion, bird’s eye chili is a popular and versatile ingredient that can bring a fiery kick to your dishes while offering a range of health benefits. Whether you prefer it fresh or dried, this tiny chili packs a big punch and is a great addition to any diet.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about bird’s eye chili. It’s a spicy chili pepper used in many Asian dishes, and it’s one of the spiciest peppers in the world. You can use it in stir-fries, soups, and sauces, or just add a few to give your food some heat.

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.