Bird’s eye chili, bird eye chili, bird’s chili or Thai chili is a chili pepper, a variety from the species Capsicum annuum, commonly found in Ethiopia and across Southeast Asia. It is often confused with a similar-looking chili derived from the species Capsicum frutescens, the cultivar “siling labuyo”.
Scoville scale: 50,000-100,000 SHU
Scientific name: Capsicum annuum ‘Bird’s Eye’
Heat: Very hot
Variety: Bird’s Eye
Higher classification: Sweet and chili peppers
Bird’s eye chili peppers, sometimes called Thai chilies, are frequently used to add spice in Southeast Asian cuisine. An almost identical hot pepper is used in African cuisine and is called piri piri or African bird’s eye chili. Raw, dried, or cooked, the small but potent peppers pack real heat.
Bird’s eye chilies are small, thin, pointy peppers that are red when mature. They are green when unripe but can still be eaten, and are sometimes orange or purple depending on maturity. In the case of Thai cuisine, green peppers are typically used in green curries, while hotter, mature red peppers are used in red curries. When fresh, they often have a stem still attached and contain loose, edible seeds that are especially spicy.
Uses by humans
Bird’s eye chili with fish sauce and lime juice is served with a multitude of Thai dishes In Vietnamese cuisine, these chilis are used in soups, salads, and stir-fried dishes. They are also put in a wide variety of sauces, sambals, and marinades, used as a condiment or eaten raw, both fresh and dried.
In Thai cuisine, these chilis are highly valued for their fruity taste and extreme spiciness. They are extensively used in many Thai dishes, such as in Thai curries and in Thai salads, green as well as the ripe red chilis; or they can just be eaten raw on the side, with for instance, khao kha mu (stewed pork trotter served with rice).