The common species of chili peppers are:
Capsicum annuum, which includes many common varieties such as bell peppers, wax, cayenne, jalapeÃ±os, and the chiltepin
Capsicum frutescens, which includes the tabasco and Thai peppers
Capsicum chinense, which includes the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero, Datil and Scotch bonnet
Capsicum pubescens, which includes the South American rocoto peppers
Capsicum baccatum, which includes the South American aji peppers
The chili has a long association with and is extensively used in Mexican and certain South American cuisines, and later adapted into the emerging Tex-Mex cuisine. Although unknown in Africa and Asia until its introduction from the New World by the Europeans, the chili pepper has since become a pillar in Asian cuisines.
The fruit is eaten raw or cooked for its fiery hot flavour, concentrated along the top of the pod. The stem end of the pod has most of the glands that produce the capsaicin. The white flesh surrounding the seeds contains the highest concentration of capsaicin. Removing the inner membranes is thus effective at reducing the heat of a pod.
Indian cooking uses chilis in everything from snacks such as bhaji, where the chilis are dipped in batter and fried, to complex curries. Chilis are dried, roasted and salted as a side dish for rice varieties such as “Dadhyodanam” (“dadhi” curd, “Odanam” cooked and ready to eat rice in Sanskrit) or “thayir sadam”. The soaked and dried chillies are a seasoning ingredient in recipes such as kootu. Telugu cuisine uses chilly pickles made almost entirely in chilly, while Jain and Kolhapuri cuisines are extreme users of chili in proportion to the quantity of food.
In India, chili is used with lime to ward off evil spirits and is seen in vehicles and in homes for that purpose. It is used to check the evil eye and remove its effects in Hinduism Psychologist Paul Rozin suggests that eating chilis is an example of a “constrained risk” like riding a roller coaster, in which extreme sensations like pain and fear can be enjoyed because individuals know that these sensations are not actually harmful. This method lets people experience extreme feelings without any risk of bodily harm.