Bird's Eye Chile Pepper Stats
Name: Bird's Eye
Width: Less than 1"
Scientific Name: Capsicum frutescens
Other Names: birdseye, piri piri, kochchi, cili padi, cabe rawit
Scoville Range: 50,000 - 100,000
Bird's Eye Chile Pepper Origin and History
There are actually several varieties of peppers throughout the world commonly referred to as bird's eye peppers, such as the chiltepin pepper from the southern regions of the United States, Mexico, and Central America.
The true bird's eye pepper hails from regions of Southeast Asia, namely Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. This species can also be found in regions of India, especially Kerala.
Bird's Eye Chile Pepper Description
The bird's eye chili plant produces small fruits that taper from the stem to their end and often grow two to three peppers per node. The colors of the bird's eye peppers tend to be mostly red, though they are also commonly seen as yellow, black, and even purple. While the bird's eye pepper is relatively small its heat is quite intense.
In fact, at one time the bird's eye pepper was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's hottest pepper.
The plant height can reach about 6 feet tall, though some varieties are smaller, especially the more ornamental varieties.
Bird's Eye Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
The bird's eye pepper is commonly used as a spice in a variety of dishes in Filipino, Indonesian, Laotian, Thai, Malaysian, and Vietnamese cuisines. It is what gives these dishes their signature fiery zest. The bird's eye pepper can also be added to vinegar to give it extra flavor. The leaves of the plant are also used in salads and other garnishments.
The bird's eye is often found in Kerala cuisine, even in Sambharam, a buttermilk-type drink flavored with chiles and ginger. It is also a main ingredient in kochchi sambal which is a salad made from fresh coconut ground with Thai chillies and lime juice. It is often used in the Filipino dishes of bicol express, a stew, and tinola, a chicken soup which uses the leaves.
The pepper also has medicinal uses and has been used traditionally to ease arthritis and rheumatism, and as a cure for upset stomachs, flatulence, and toothache. When mixed with water is also acts as a natural insect repellent and pesticide.
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