What Are Kashmiri Chillies?


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Kashmiri chillies are one of the essential chillies used in Indian cooking. You’ll see it used in various recipes in both whole and ground form. The chillies are always sold dried and are prized for their bright red color, mild heat, and smoky flavor. In recipes like vindaloo, Kashmiri chillies impart the bright red color that this stew is known for, while in dals or chutneys, whole Kashmiri chillies are fried in hot oil to infuse their flavor. Kashmiri chillies are a staple in my kitchen. I use them often, even when cooking recipes outside Indian cuisine; for example, when I cook pulled pork or barbecue vegetables or meats, Kashmiri chillies are a fantastic addition to get that smoky chilli flavor without the heat.

A Few Things to Remember About Kashmiri Chillies

  1. They’re always sold dried, and you can find them at Indian grocery stores and online. Some excellent purveyors of ground Kashmiri chillies include Diaspora Co. and Spicewalla. For whole Kashmiri chillies, I use this brand.
  2. They are available dried in both whole and ground/powder forms.
  3. Kashmiri chillies are known for their mild heat (their Scoville values range between 1,000 to 2,000), bright red color, and mild smoky flavor.
  4. Substituting whole Kashmiri chillies in a recipe isn’t easy, but for recipes where the ground powder is called for, this substitution isn’t perfect but works well:

1 tsp ground Kashmiri chilli powder = 3/4 tsp ground smoked sweet paprika + 1/4 tsp ground cayenne

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