The chilli (also chili pepper) is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae.
Chili peppers originated in the Americas and have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC. Chillies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during the 16th century.
India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers.
My chillies were homegrown in Penzance, Cornwall and Stroud, Gloucestershire.
450ml/17fl oz olive oil (not virgin)
20g/¾oz dried red chilli flakes
3-4 whole dried red chillies
Chilli is oil is made when chillies are preserved in oil. The heat from the chilli will infuse the oil, so use cautiously until you’ve managed to gauge the heat of the oil.
Gently warm the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the chilli flakes and whole chillies to the oil and heat for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the oil to cool slightly.
When the oil has cooled slightly, carefully pour it into sterilised, sealable glass bottle using a funnel. (Caution: hot oil can be dangerous.) Add the chilli flakes and dried chillies from the pan. Seal the bottle.
Keep the bottle in a cool, dark place, shaking the bottles once a week. As time goes on the oil will become redder and hotter.
A recipe by Mari Williams, BBC Food.