Dinnertime never needed to be boring, and sometimes spicing things up a bit is all that it takes to turn the situation around.
Spicy cuisines from all over the world offer up many ways to add some excitement back into the usual evening meal.
Ranging from tongue-tingling to scorching hot, spicy dishes dreamed up in particular parts of the world have become global favorites.
The Chili Pepper Conquers the World
When Christopher Columbus left Spain in search of a new route to India, it was a spice from the Piperaceae family that most piqued his interest.
Instead of ending up with ships full of black pepper, he made landfall in a distant place where fruits from plants of the genus Capsicum were most often used to spice up cooking.
While other American crops like tomatoes, potatoes, and maize became established in Europe, none were taken up as eagerly worldwide as the chili pepper.
Easy to breed and grow–and delicious whether fresh or dried–the chili pepper did not take long to start flowering all over the globe.
Four Cuisines That Make the Most of the Spicy Chili Pepper
Chili peppers of the Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens species are now found in every country where growing them is practical. Many cultures that did not have access to chili peppers as recently as a few hundred years ago have since made them integral parts of their culinary palettes.
While some fans of food prefer to stay away from chili peppers or use them only sparingly, plenty more enjoy heating things up. Four of the global cuisines that make the heaviest and most delicious use of spicy chili peppers are:
China’s landlocked province of Sichuan is famed for its delicious food. The unique numbing feeling produced by the iconic Sichuan peppercorn is viewed by many as the perfect complement to the searing heat of the local chili peppers. Some of the best Chinese food to be found anywhere combines these two sensations in ways that no other of the world’s cuisines can match. Stir-fried chicken as served in Sichuanese cities like Chengdu will liven up any family’s dinner.
The ancestral home of the Mayan people, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has become the world’s leading proponent and producer of the habanero chili pepper. An average habanero can contain ten times more heat-inducing capsaicin than even an, especially spicy jalapeño. Yucatan-style ceviche made with tiny bits of habanero plays the coolness of lime-marinated seafood off against blazing chili pepper.
· Southern Thai.
Thailand stretches over 1,000 miles from north to south, and that covers plenty of culinary variation. People all up and down Thailand enjoy the heat of chili peppers, but southerners, as in many other countries, tend to be the biggest fans. Green papaya salad is served all over the country, but the southern spin on the dish is especially spicy and exciting.
Africa is host to a number of spicy national cuisines, but Nigeria’s ranks easily among the boldest. Grilled meats prepared “suya” style bears some resemblance to blackened Cajun dishes but is even fierier. Croaker fish is often served with a tomato sauce that has been generously enhanced with cayenne pepper and other spices.
Cuisines like these include many ways to use spicy chili peppers to liven up routine dinners. Exploring the world of spicy cooking will reveal that the many forms of the chili pepper never lack for delicious, exciting applications.