Chilli Varieties from the Northeast

Spicy Chilli Variety - Northeast
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Chilli from Northeast states of India are known for its unique and intense flavors. The region is home to a variety of chili peppers that are used extensively in local cuisines – like the King chili which is considered one of the world’s hottest chili.

Chilies from Northeast India are exceptionally spicy, so they should be used with caution if you’re not accustomed to consuming extremely hot foods. The use of these chilies is an integral part of the region’s culinary heritage, and they play a significant role in shaping the distinct flavors of Northeast Indian cuisine.

Let us look at a few varieties of chili from the Northeast and Himalayan regions of India.

King Chilli

There is a reason that it is called King Chili because it is the ‘spiciest naturally grown chilli’. King chili found in the Northeast is not artificially cross-pollinated with other specimens to create hybrids or increased ferocity. Other chilli varieties which have beaten King Chili in hotness are hybrid varieties.

  • The King chilli variety is known by different names in different states – like U-morok (Manipuri), Naga Chili (Nagaland), Bhut Jolokia (Assam), Sohmynken Beba (Meghalaya)
  • The Government of Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland are trying to get Geographical Indication rights to each of the King Chili as found in the respective states.

The King Chili is famous not just for its intense heat, but also for its unique fruity and earthy undertones.

Dalle Khursani

Round pepper found in Sikkim-Darjeeling and native to the Himalayan region. This sweet fireball is known for its intense heat and look deep-red cherry when ripe.  Dalle Khursani is the ubiquitous kitchen ingredient in this Himalayan regions and used in different forms – fresh, pickles, brined, dried, paste, etc.

A cousin of Dalle Khursani is also found in Meghalaya and called ‘Sohmynken Ding’. Sikkim has been granted the GI tag for Dalle Khursani.

Saraikhong Hathei Chilli

This GI tagged, Sirarakhong Hathei is a long chilly variety having unique taste and colour, and grows only in Sirarakhong village of Ukhrul district, Manipur. The chilli are about 6 to 8 inches long with a bright red colour, distinct taste, and have high carotene content.

Bird’s Eye Chili

Chilli midget, different varieties of the fiery bird’s eye chilli are found in Northeast states

Hmarcha te

Mizo Chilli is the most popular variety and also has high demand in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and others of Southeast Asia.

Sohmynken Khnai

This is Meghalaya’s variety of the Bird’s Eye Chilli who doesn’t look very different from other varieties, except perhapsin pungency levels.

Black Chilli

This variety of chili grows well in most places of the Northeast, mostly in homestead gardens. Their fruits are near black while still not fully ripe but once they ripen, they turn a bright red. This chilli has a very appetizing aroma and relatively low heat, making it perfect condiment and accompaniment to meals.

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