Chili pepper is a berry-fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum which are members of the nightshade family. Chili peppers are widely used in many cuisines as a spice to add pungent ‘heat’ to dishes.
In the coastal towns of Kenya, Malindi, Mombasa, and Lamu especially, the Arabs and Swahili treasure this item in their home kitchen and the cuisines within restaurants. It can be found in street food joints for favorite dishes such as viazi karai curry and sauce.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Chili Pepper
- Capsaicin from chili peppers has also shown potential in treating headaches, migraines, and joint pains.
- One of the biggest advantages of capsaicin is its contribution to gut health and weight loss.
- Contrary to popular belief, chili peppers can actually be an anti-irritant to your stomach and a great way to treat stomach ulcers.
- Chili peppers also present a potential natural remedy for fighting cancer. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the capsaicin and antioxidants in chili peppers can kill cancer cells in leukemia and prostate cancer.
- The characteristic red color of chili peppers is an indication that it is rich in beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A is key in maintaining a healthy respiratory, intestinal, and urinary system. Vitamin A and vitamin C in the chili peppers are vital in building up your immunity against infections and illnesses.
- Chili peppers can also be a great, natural way to support your cardiovascular system and prevent heart disease because they are high in potassium, which is a mineral with a number of functions in the human body. Potassium combined with folate can reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
- In addition to maintaining your heart health, chili peppers can reduce the risk of developing high blood levels of insulin, which is a common symptom of Type 2 Diabetes.
- One of the key ways of maintaining a strong cognitive performance is a proper amount of oxygen and iron. Fortunately, chili peppers are rich in iron. This leads to an increase in the blood flow and hemoglobin production in your brain.
- In addition to maintaining heart health, chili peppers can also help with new blood cell formation. This is due to the fact that chili peppers are rich in copper and iron. As such, they are able to treat symptoms of anemia and fatigue.
- Cayenne pepper is a great natural ingredient that can add some spice to a beauty routine. Cayenne pepper can be mixed into a face mask to deal with skin inflammation. It can also treat wrinkles, acne scars, and dark spots.
What Is Chili Powder?
Chili powder(Masala) is a red-coloured blend of powdered spices. While it contains some cayenne pepper for heat, it also has spices such as cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and paprika intended to lend the flavors expected in chili con carne.
Chili powder can add depth of flavor to burgers, chicken, soups, stews, sauces, and roasted vegetables.
Suggestible recipes for chili include peri-peri chicken and samosa (sambusa) keema (minced meat).
Chili Powder (Masala) vs. Cayenne Pepper
The spice sold as cayenne pepper is simply ground cayenne pepper and it is not a chili powder substitute. Ground cayenne pepper is eight times hotter than chili powder. If your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of chili powder and you use 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, you won’t make that mistake twice as cayenne pepper is pure heat. Your dish will be blazing hot but lack the other flavors provided by chili powder.
How to store chili powder (Masala)
Store chili powder (Masala) in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It is shelf-stable and should last for months to years. As spices lose their potency over time, it is good to replace them regularly.