Once upon a time I made the mortal mistake of slicing a chilli and then rubbing my itchy eye. I propose that the pain factor is on par with a stinging nettle thrust into the eyeball. Coming from a chilli-mad family I was almost as irritated as my weeping red eye that I hadn’t been forewarned to never ever let this happen. And never will it happen again (I hope).
Other activities to avoid after handling chillies:
Blowing your nose
Cutting your nails
Scratching any sort of itch on your body, nor anyone else’s for that matter
Petting the dog/cat/bird/domestic rodent
Squeezing your spots- you shouldn’t be doing this one anyway
Going to the bathroom- you really don’t want to do that
What I don’t understand is when recipes call for de-seeded chillies. What’s that all about? Throwing away the seeds of a chilli is like throwing away the juice of a lemon, or the soul of a sadhu. It just defeats the object.
Your fingers will be glad to hear (?) that with this recipe there is no contact with the inside of the chilli and the whole thing is used, so no wastage. Eating whole chillies may sound completely insane and lethal but you should know that once you eat one chilli and enjoy it, the next time you’re probably going to want it to be hotter… and so on, and so on, and so on. It’s a bit like building up resistance or immunity, which is great because chillies (in moderation) are great for the body.
So let’s get down to business. If you’re not used to hot food then I suggest you start off with the mildest chillies you can find (Note: it’s usually the case that the smaller chillies are hotter than larger, scarier looking chillies. As delicious as they may be, those pesky little ones just lull you into a false sense of security). I used super hot chillies- because I’m plucky like that. That’s not to say they don’t make my throat tingle and my ears itch with every bite. Full of capsaicin, chilli peppers increase heart rate and the release of endorphins (feel-good hormones) like the ones that make you feel virtuous (minus the side helping of guilt) after eating chocolate. No wonder they’re so addictive.
These green chillies in mustard yogurt are usually served as a condiment alongside a main meal. You just take a gutsy bite of chilli between bites of whatever you’re feasting on. If you’re not feeling the chilli heat then just try the mustard yogurt without adding chilli peppers. It’s rich, creamy, tangy and utterly heavenly. It’s perfect as a dip with Indian breads, poppadaums and crisps. Once you try it you’ll be hooked. You could add raw carrot sticks, green beans or asparagus. It also makes a great potato salad with boiled or steamed baby new potatoes. Go bananas.
1 ½ cups thin green chillies (the kind of chilli you use is completely up to you)
2 cups Greek yogurt (I used Total)
2 tsp whole mustard seeds soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
2 ½ tbsp English mustard
1 small pinch turmeric
1 small pinch asafoetida (optional)
½ tsp-1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Wash and dry the chillies.
Cut the stem and some of the bud off of the chilli, but don’t cut the base of the chilli off to reveal the inside. This will make it spoil quicker
2. Whisk together all of the other ingredients.
3. Fold in the chillies and pile everything into a sterilised jar. Refrigerate.
This will last weeks and weeks in the fridge (covered) because the thick, sour yogurt will envelope the whole chillies in a protective little blanket. So don’t worry, you won’t need to eat all of those babies in one go.*
*Please don’t actually try to do that because KO Rasoi refuses to be liable for the many hideous repercussions.