The Thais make extensive use of both fresh and dried chili peppers. Thai markets also abound with fresh green, red and orange chilies in various sizes.
Thai meals always have a bowl of a spicy dip made with roasted chilies as a staple ingredient to eat with fresh or parboiled vegetables or grilled or deep-fried fish. Chili peppers or พริก (Phrik) in Thai in various varieties are amply used in a lot of Thai dishes. Some dishes are very and very hot like putting fire on diners’ tongues and even tears in their eyes, but the Thais still enjoy with these and need to eat more and more. Chilies might add zest to these flavourful dishes. maybe, the fiery heat of the capsaicin, the staple compound in the chilies, stimulates the Thais to that.
พริกขี้หนู (Phrik k̄hī̂h̄nū) or the bird’s eye chili is the smallest and hottest variety. This is also the most popular in Thai cuisine. There are many ways to use this. Serrano and jalapeno make good substitutes for this.
พริกชี้ฟ้า (Phrik chī̂f̂ā), it may be referred to cayenne pepper, is available in Thai markets in bright green, red and orange colours. it is popularly used as garnish, generally diagonally sliced, added and cooked briefly at the final step of cooking.
The Thais popularly dry the ripe red chili peppers in the sun to make dried chilies. Dried cayenne peppers and dried bangchang peppers are popularly used in making most of Thai curry pastes. Prior to use, these are soaked in water to soften.
Dried bird’s eye chili is sometimes roasted until fragrant and coloured. This is used to both decorate as a garnish and add additional aroma and flavour to dishes.
Thai crushed red pepper or chili flakes
พริกป่น (Phrik p̀n) or Thai crushed chili is amply used as an ingredient in many dishes in northern (Lanna) and north-eastern (Isan) foods. Throughout the country, it is also used as a condiment, a diner can season to taste at the table.
It is always made from dried bird’s eye chilies. Starting with roasting the dried chilies in a dry frying pan at a very low heat. This need stirring slowly and continuously until fragrant and coloured. The roasted chilies are then ground either with a mortar and a pestle or in a spice grinder. The commercial ones are also available in any Asian supermarkets.
In some cookbooks, it may be referred to the “roasted chili powder”. Since it still leaves small pieces of seeds and pepper, the word “Thai crushed red pepper or chili flakes” might be better.