Why is it that some of us run the other way when hot (spicy hot) dishes are served and some of us just can’t get enough? The pain, the burn, the heat…those lovers of spice, we say, “bring it on”! For everyone else, we don’t expect you to understand the “hurts so good” penchant for peppers but one thing’s for sure; we like it hot!
And that brings us to number 100,000 on the Scoville Scale, the African Birdseye Chili, aka Piri Piri or Thai Chili. Not quite as hot as the habanero, but definitely hotter than cayenne or jalapeños, this pepper is up there on the Scoville heat scale that tops out at 1,500,000. To give you more perspective, a meal is generally considered hot with a rating of 500-1000. The pepper spray used by law enforcement has a rating of 160,000.
Birdseye Chili is commonly found in Ethiopia, Southeast Asia and India. It’s capsaicin that gives peppers their heat. So the Scoville rating relates to the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. When capsaicin is eaten, the nerves on the tongue signal the brain to release endorphins, known as the happiness hormone. A tip for the heat seekers out there; if you find it’s too hot, try a glass of milk, not water. The fat in the milk will help to calm the burn.
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The origins of this recipe are almost too hard to believe. Back in 2013 in India,served up a promotional spice packet that accompanied french fries. It was a Piri Piri blend and took off like, well, wildfire! Our recipe is a take on Piri Piri fries and makes a great accompaniment to meat or vegetarian dishes and can be given an American twist by serving it with ketchup or cooling ranch dressing on the side. Move over , make way for the Piri Piri (Birdseye Chili) fries!
Piri Piri (Birdseye Chili) Oven Fries
2 lbs Russet Potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground Piri Piri pepper or cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
Canola Oil Cooking Spray
Wash and slice potatoes into half inch wedges leaving the skin on.
Dry the potatoes with paper towels, place them into a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the fries. Toss the fries to coat them with the olive oil.
In a separate small bowl, mix salt, pepper, garlic, piri piri pepper, and bread crumbs, and mix well.
Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the fries and toss well until the fries are coated.
Spray a large cookie sheet with a heavy coating of the cooking spray and spread the fries evenly on the pan.
Spray the top of the fries with a coating of the cooking spray.
Cook at 400 for about 20 minutes. Your fries will be crispy on the bottom, if not, leave them cooking for a few more minutes.
Flip over each fry to crisp the other side. Cook for another 20 minutes or until they are fully cooked and crispy.
*Note: Season with more salt if needed.