I adore spicy food. I mean really spicy not "Gringo American" spicy. I cook traditional Indian food and I know few people who like it as spicy as I do. When I go to a Thai restaurant, I have to insist on making the food as spicy as those from Thailand would eat it. I am now learning to cook Ethiopian food.

Capsaicinoids (The chemical origin of heat in chillies) releases endorphins and can lead leading to a sense of happiness and well being. It's the same endorphins released during sex.

Endorphins are a class of neurotransmitters produced by the body and used internally as a pain killer.

This class of compounds are similar in their action to opiates, attaching to some of the same receptors in the brain. They are a strong analgesic, and give a pervasive sense of happiness. The release of endorphins lowers the blood pressure, a major indicator in heart disease, and has even been implicated in the fight against cancer. Some people (like me) find the 'rush' from endorphins addictive.

The capsaicinoids in chilli bind to a receptor in the lining of the mouth. This is the same receptor that registers pain from heat, thus the effect is a burning feeling. This is a result of the flow of calcium ions from one cell to the next. The pungent molecule has an electron poor area, which is attracted to the electron rich area on the receptor protein. Repeated exposure to capsaicinoids depletes these receptors, enabling you to eat hotter chillies and feel the same effect. The pain caused by this leads to the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. These give a feeling of happiness and well being. Besides the information about pain receptors, chillies have given much to medical science. Capsaicin cream is used to lower the sensation of pain in such conditions as arthritis, and other painful chronic conditions.

Chillies are high in vitamin C (about twice that of citrus fruits), dried chillies are very high in vitamin A, and red chillies are a great source of b-carotene. Chillies have antibacterial qualities, and contain bioflavinoids, anti-oxidants most common in apple juice.

Contrary to popular belief it is the white membrane of the chilli pepper that holds the most heat, not the seeds.

my mum just sent me this article:

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Published: August 10, 2009

Q. If I eat a raw jalapeño pepper, my mouth is afire, my eyes water and my nose runs. How can some people eat pepper after pepper without pain? Have they destroyed the sensory receptors in their mouths and throats?

A. No receptors are destroyed, said Harry T. Lawless, a professor of food science at Cornell and an expert in the taste, smell and sensory evaluation of food. Instead, “people who eat a lot of the stuff tend to develop a tolerance that we call desensitization,” he said.“There is nothing harmful in the capsaicin molecule, the active ingredient of hot peppers,” he said. “Capsaicin is kind of a harmless drug, and like any drug we develop a tolerance to it.”

One theory is that a neurotransmitter gets depleted so that people respond less vigorously to capsaicin the more they are exposed to it, he said.

The capsaicin molecule has both stimulating and anesthetic properties, Dr. Lawless said. In 1952, The Dublin Medical Press recommended it as a temporary cure for toothache, he said, and pharmacologists, particularly in Hungary, have studied this anesthetic property in related molecules.

“The antidote to the mouth burning and the eyes watering is to eat more,” Dr. Lawless said, “either right away or later.” Chronic desensitization seems to be a matter of long-term dietary change, he said, but there is also the short-term numbing effect.

If you just can’t eat another pepper, Dr. Lawless’s favorite antidote is frozen yogurt. “Indian mothers,” he said, “are known to give ghee,” or clarified butter, “to children who get too much curry.”
article link here

Dear readers, don't worry, I shall give my version and a milder version for every recipe I post here.
: )

The Greater the Threat, the Hotter the Chili

New 'Thermometer' for Chili Peppers

Views: 1247

Replies to This Discussion

Yeah. That's also why peppers don't make me happy like the article says. I don't know if it's the same thing exactly. It could be an acid reflux thing.

I really like homemade salsa with tomatoes, jalapenos, and lime juice...all the acidic, hurty ingredients in one, but it's very delicious. Salsa without jalapenos just doesn't taste the same.
@Adriana - that exact article is in the SPICY! post itself. Look directly after the photo of the chili on fire. *wink*
: )
Just had a bit of a Red Savina the other day. Eating it won me a pitcher of beer.
I just made these the other day from some peppers out of a friend's garden:

This is the classic, indispensable Mexican table condiment, served with beans, rice, eggs, tacos and tortas. If you can find both red and green jalapeños, by all means use them together, since they make a very attractive presentation. Serrano chiles may also be used in this recipe. The green chiles will lose a bit of color due to the chemical reaction of the chlorophyll and vinegar, but homemade ones will not fade to the paler color of commercially canned jalapeños, which are usually marked as having a shelf life of several years and are preserved in white vinegar rather than the fruit vinegar used by home cooks.


1 pound jalapeño chiles, washed and stems left intact
6 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
1 head garlic, cloves separated, left unpeeled, and sliced lengthwise
¼ pound carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into ½ " rounds
3 cups fruit vinegar
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ tablespoon sugar

Cut an X into the tip of each jalapeño.

Heat the oil, add the onion, garlic, carrots and jalapenos and sauté until the onion begins to soften, but not brown.

Add the vinegar and remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Ladle the mixture into sterilized glass jars, cover and refrigerate. Makes 3 pints.


Almost perfect recipe. I'd recommend adding a few peppercorns, some oregano, cumin and kosher salt to balance the sweetness of this recipe.
I also LOVE spicy food, and regularly order extra-extra spicy at restaurants. I've recently started pickling my own chilies!
My wife makes a killer vindaloo with a ghost chili or two (WARNING!!!! NOT FOR THE FAINT OF TONGUE!!!) and this mango and goat's milk yogurt drink that does an amazing job of cooling the burn and for you habenero eating weenies out there try a million point 7 scoville heat units and brag to me then...neener,neener! Btw we've got a friend thats growing hothouse ghost chilis (we're in Wisconsin and they require like a 130 day season so no growing outside) that he's very scientific about his soil mixture and watering schedule (did you know that inducing drought conditions on hot peppers for a couple of weeks before harvest ups the heat?)
mango and goat's milk yogurt drink

Mango lassi, but that's a topic for another discussion. Mmm... mango lassi.

Ok, I can't quite get to making another discussion. The way I am most familiar with it is using cow's milk yogurt (whole), mango, and rose water, but I've also heard of people using whole yogurt, mango pulp, fresh mango, and cardamom with a little salt. I don't care, as long as it has mangos in it, I'm good.
The reason most places I've been to that serve it use goat's milk yogurt is that whole cultural/religious thing about bovine products.
What culture/religious thing?
I can imagine that a drought would make the spiciness all the more concentrated.
As peppers contain a high moisture content it's a biological defense against predation from fawna looking for a source of hydration.


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