What gives chillies their heat is a chemical called Capsaicin. It is found primarily in the membrane of the chilli. The common misconception that the seeds are the hottest part is due to the membrane being more prominent around the seed.
The heat of a chilli is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Just to give you an idea, an ordinary regular Capsicum is 0 SHU, a Jalapeño is between 3500 - 8000 SHU and the small Thai chilli (photo to the right - home grown) is between 50,000 - 100,000 SHU. HOT!
There is so many ways to use chillies. I have made home made hot sauce, yes with the Thai chillies. It is made from garlic, vinegar salt and chillies - very simple, very hot. You only need a couple drops to make a meal turn hot. Today I made a Chilli Caramel Sauce. Sweet, sticky, citrus and a mild hint of heat! I saw it on Masterchef's master-class and thought I would give it a go. My version is slightly different and not as hot.
It goes well with chicken, white fish and crustaceans. It would also be a nice side sauce to a bit of steak. Another simple easy recipe to follow.
Makes approx 250ml
What you need:
250g palm sugar
4 long red chillies, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup of water