This pepper is hot for sure, but, with a
ranking of 175,000 piri piri ranks at the bottom end of ‘habanero-hot’. By comparison, bell peppers and banana peppers rate between 100 and 900 Scoville units, while the very hottest peppers clock in at a whopping 2,000,000 (that’s million) units!
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.
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!
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.
The origins of this recipe are almost too hard to believe. Back in 2013 in India, McDonalds 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 McSpicy Paneer, make way for the Piri Piri (Birdseye Chili) fries!
⑤ Serrano (Scoville: 10,000 to 25,000)
Widely available chiles that can be green or red, these small pungent peppers should never be used in replace of jalapeños, as they can pack almost double the heat.
⑩ Tabasco (Scoville: 30,000 to 50,000)
Rarely used in their fresh state, these peppers help make the iconic Louisiana-made hot sauce. Add a splash to your cocktail sauce if it needs some heat (it probably does!).
Is piri piri hotter than jalapeno?
What spice is similar to piri piri?