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Bird Chiles

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Thai bird chiles, Asian chiles, Thai chiles

What is it?

Thai and other Asian chiles are slender and thin-walled with a very hot, nutty flavor. Available fresh or dried, fresh are sometimes sold green but are more often lipstick-red. Bird chiles are perfect for all kinds of stir-frying. Drop a couple into a bottle of sherry vinegar to make a hot and sour cooking condiment. The tiny pods are easy to air-dry for year-round use.

Don’t have it?

Try using serranos or other hot chiles.

How to choose:

Choose chiles that are shiny and firm pods with strong, uniform color. They should feel dense and heavy for their size; good examples of even the very smallest ones will feel heavier. Avoid chiles that are flaccid, wrinkled, bruised, blemished, or discolored.

How to prep:

Stem and seed fresh chiles before slicing or mincing. You may want to use gloves when handling hot chiles to keep their oil off your skin. If you by chance rub that oil into your eye it can be quite painful. Dried chiles are often added whole to stir-fries and curries.

How to store:

Dried chiles will keep indefinitely in a cool dry place. Refrigerate fresh chiles in the crisper drawer and they will keep at least a week.

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