We’ve all had days where we wished our curry was a little milder. What would you say if I told you there was a way to get all of the flavours of chilli with less of the heat? The good news is that there is! Kashmiri chilli powder. Is Kashmiri chilli powder hot? Not really. This makes it ideal in all sorts of dishes. Today I’ll teach you what Kashmiri chilli powder is, how it is made and how to use it.
Quick Answer | Is Kashmiri Chilli Powder Hot?
Kashmiri powder is not generally considered to be hot. It is made and takes its name because it uses dried and ground up Kashmiri chilli. Generally, these finger-length peppers tend to be pretty mild.
While it is far less spicy than normal chilli powder, it isn’t what I would call ‘heatless’. You will still get a little bit of chilli heat leaking through, but at nowhere near the mind-blowing levels traditionally associated with chillies.
To learn more about Kashmiri chilli powder, read on…
What is Kashmiri Chilli Powder
Kashmiri chilli powder is an ingredient used in a wide variety of Indian dishes. This fine red powder is great for adding colour and subtle heat to your curries without making them too overpowering.
Kashmiri chilli powder is relatively sweet with a slightly smoky aftertaste.
The vibrant red colour of Kashmiri chilli powder is one of its standout qualities. It works really well to brighten a dish. Some people claim that it also has a fruity taste (yeah, whatever).
How is Kashmiri Chilli Powder Made?
Kashmiri chilli powder starts life as a Kashmiri Chilli pepper, named after the region in Northern India.
When they are on the vine, they look like standard red finger chillies. Once they are harvested (in huge quantities), they are left to dry in the sun. As they lose their moisture, they become all dry and wrinkly.
From there, they are pulverized into a fine powder before being bagged up and shipped across the globe.
If you buy a bag of Kashmiri chilli powder, it will probably have been mass-produced in a huge plant. Still, there are local areas in India that specialize in Kashmiri chilli powder production.
Want to see what it looks like?
Check out this short video:-
How Hot is Kashmiri Chilli Powder?
Kashmiri chilli powder isn’t traditionally known for being hot.
But how do we quantify hot?
The standard measure for a chillies’ heat is measured on something called the Scoville scale. To give you an idea of the scale, it starts at foods like bell peppers. These peppers sit at ground zero on the heat unit scale.
Conversely, something seriously fiery, like scotch bonnet peppers, tend to sit at around 100,000 heat units.
Where does the Kashmiri chilli pepper sit?
At about 2,000 Scoville units.
To put it in even easier to understand terms, tabasco sauce is about 4000 Scoville heat units, so Kashmiri chilli pepper (and therefore Kashmiri chilli powder) is about half as hot as tobacco.
You’ll read in some sources that Kashmiri chilli powder is made from something called the ‘Bedgi chilli’.
Quite simply put, this is not true.
The bedgi or byadagi chilli is one seriously hot customer!
To give you an idea, it sits somewhere around 100,000 Scoville heat units, meaning it is 25 times hotter than tabasco sauce! If you want to know how hot Kashmiri chilli powder is, make sure you don’t confuse these two types of chilli powder, or it will spoil your day.
How Do I Use Kashmiri Chilli Powder?
It is pretty simple to use Kashmiri chilli powder. Remember we said that it has relatively mild heat. If you are looking to tone down your curry spice level but don’t want to miss out on chilli taste, it could be the one for you.
To use Kashmiri chilli powder, simply replace the normal chilli powder called for in any Indian recipe.
You can use Kashmiri chilli powder in many ways: -
- As a food colouring agent, whenever you want a red curry
- As a great alternative for paprika
- As a garnish to dust the sides of a plate
- In any Indian recipe calling for normal chilli powder
What’s the Difference Between Chilli Powder and Kashmiri Chilli Powder?
In simple terms, both can be used in curry dishes, and in terms of flavour, they taste pretty similar.
Regular chilli powder is much hotter than Kashmiri chilli powder. Normally regular chilli powder is usually made with cayenne peppers. If you want to know how hot that is, they normally sit somewhere at about 30,000 Scoville units. That’s quite the difference from the humble 2000 of the Kashmiri chilli, right?
Here are the main differences at a glance between regular chilli powder and Kashmiri chilli powder: -
Kashmiri Chilli Powder
Regular chilli powder
Scoville Heat Units
How Hot is Kashmiri Chilli Powder | Final Thoughts…
Kashmiri chilli powder is far milder than regular chilli powder. Its bright red colour and mild qualities make it ideal for use in a variety of Indian dishes. While it is mild, it is still a chilli, so use it sparingly if you are sensitive to spice. Which do you prefer? Something really hot, or more along the lines of really mild? Let me know in the comments!