February 2010 Newsletter

One of the more regular questions that we get asked is whether a chilli is less hot if the seeds are removed.

The main heat of a chilli is in the membrane – the white pithy substance that joins the seeds to the flesh of the chiili. Capsaican is produced in the membrane and it’s the capsaican that gives the heat. The capsaican in the membrane does get into the seeds and the flesh but the main heat is in the membrane.

If you cut open a chilli and then cut away the membrane and seeds then the chilli will not be as hot. If you cut away just the seeds then you’ll reduce the heat a little but not by much.

There’s a blog on the Curry Focus website that explains a little more about why a chilli is hot.

If you try out a new variety of chilli and are a bit wary of how hot it is, then cut away the membrane and seeds before trying – if the resultant curry isn’t too hot for you, next time you could just use the whole chilli and see how that goes.

Over time, you tend to build up a resistance to the heat from chilli. So if you’re making a curry with 2 or 3 chillies, at some stage you’re going to want to make it hotter and the easiest way is just to add another chilli.

A time to be careful of is when making a curry for a few people. You need to know how hot they like their curries. If you’re not sure then you can make a guess and then have a side dish of raita for people to “cool down” their curry (raita is easy to make – check out the easy raita recipes). There’s another good Curry Focus article on how to cool down a curry that’s too hot that is worth reading.

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