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What is Kashmiri Chilli powder, The secret Indian spice

What is Kashmiri Chilli powder, The secret Indian spice

Known for it’s vibrant red colour, Kashmiri chilli powder is a spice you may notice listed in many Indian recipes. In this post you will read about what is Kashmiri chilli powder and  how is it a better option for a non- heat lover. 

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You may have come across a few Indian recipes that has Kashmiri chilli powder listed as the preferred red chilli powder to be used in the dish. And there is a good reason for that.

There are hundreds of varieties of chillies. They are all different in terms of size, color, use, flavour, and taste. Kashmiri red chilli powder is one such type that appears frequently in Indian cuisine. Its main purpose is to give the foods a gorgeous crimson color along with a hint of heat.

The use of Kashmiri red chillies is either in whole form or as a grounded powder.

This post is a comprehensive guide to unveil the secrets about what is Kashmiri chilli powder and why is it a kitchen must-have especially if you enjoy a bit of spice!

What Is Kashmiri Chilli ?

As the name suggests, Kashmiri chillies belong to the Kashmir region of India. Some may argue that Kashmiri chillies do not belong to the region, but as per the Spice Board of India, Kashmiri chillies are grown in Himachal Pradesh and the Jammu and Kashmir regions.

Used both in whole and powdered form, it is the kashmiri red chilli powder that is popularly used in Indian households.

The whole dry Kashmiri chillies are medium sized, cone shape, with wrinkly dark red skin.

Whole kashmiri Chilli

Known for an appealing red colour and mild heat, the powder is finely ground, resulting in a smooth texture that easily blends into sauces, curries, marinades, and other recipes. It adds not only heat but also imparts a rich red color to the dishes it is used in.

Some restaurants try to imitate the colour by adding food colouring but a good quality kashmiri powder will lend more colour and less heat.

Kashmiri chilli powder

Kashmiri Chillies In Other Languages

Since it is a regional spice there are no language translation to other languages.

However, Kashmiri Chillies in Hindi is called ‘Kashmiri Mirch’

How Does Kashmiri Chillies Taste ?

Kashmiri red chillies are unique in their flavor profile, offering a balance between spiciness and a subtle sweetness. This makes them a versatile ingredient in various cuisines, particularly Indian and South Asian dishes.

Don’t be fooled by the colour, although a bright red in colour, kashmiri chillies taste is mild, aromatic with a full-flavour body.

You can draw a similarity between paprika however, it is a bit hotter to taste.

It’s worth noting that while Kashmiri red chilli powder does provide some heat, it is generally milder compared to other varieties of chili powders. This makes it suitable for individuals who prefer less spicy foods or those who want to enjoy the flavor without overwhelming heat.

How Hot Is Kashmiri Chilli Pepper?

Kashmiri chillies range from 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), which places it at a comparable mild heat as the poblano pepper. 

For your reference when comparing Kashmiri chilies to jalapeño peppers, the mildest Kashmiri chili is eight times milder than the hottest possible jalapeño. However, at their maximum heat level, both Kashmiri chilies and jalapeños have a similar level of spiciness.

How To Use Them In Cooking ?

Kashmiri chillies can be used fresh, dried, whole or in powder form. In case you happen to find Kashmiri chilli flakes, the use of the powder and the flakes in cooking is similar.

It is one of my recommended chili powder option to stock up on that can be added to almost any type of dish that you wish to lend some heat to.

Kashmiri red chilli powder is often used as a key ingredient in popular Indian dishes such as tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and Rogan Josh. Its distinct flavor and vibrant appearance make it an essential spice for those looking to add depth and complexity to their culinary creations.

It is especially a wonderful Indian hot spice that can be used to cook Indian food without making it too hot.

Uses of whole kashimiri chillies

  • Use whole chillies to temper in warm oil with other whole spices.
  • You can break or chop the chillies and sprinkle on to stir-fries and curries.
  • Soak kashmiri chillies whole in warm water and grind it into paste for an even brighter red colour and flavouful heat to the dish.

Uses of kashimiri chilli powder

  • Add a tsp or two to curries, vegetables, sauces, soups and stews for flavour and colour.
  • Add it to marinades for some mild heat.

What Is The Difference Between Kashmiri Chili Powder And Regular Chilli Powder?

When it comes to chili powders, there are various types available in the market. You need to perhaps visit a dedicated spice shop to buy the various varieties. For most of us it is the local super stores from where we pick up chilli powder from.

However the question is why should you use Kashmiri chilli powder instead of other chillies and can you use regular chili powder instead of Kashmiri?

While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two. Let’s explore these differences in detail:

1. Colour :

One of the most noticeable differences between Kashmiri chili powder and regular chili powder is their colour. Kashmiri chili powder is known for its deep red hue, which adds a beautiful vibrant touch to any dish. On the other hand, regular chili powder tends to have a darker shade of red or even a brownish colour.

2. Heat Level:

As mentioned above, when it comes to the level of spiciness, Kashmiri chili powder is relatively milder compared to regular chili powder. It carries a subtle heat that allows you to enjoy the flavors without overwhelming your taste buds. Depending on the type of brand, regular chili powder, on the other hand, packs a punch with its higher heat level or may be pretty mild lacking any flavour.

3. Flavour Profile:

The flavour profiles of these two chili powders also differ significantly. Kashmiri chili powder offers a unique blend of smoky, earthy, and slightly fruity notes. It adds depth and complexity to your dishes, making them more tantalizing. Regular chili powder, on the other hand, provides a straightforward and intense spicy flavor.

4. Culinary Uses:

Both Kashmiri chili powder and regular chili powder have their own places in various cuisines. Kashmiri chili powder is commonly used in Indian and South Asian dishes like curries, tandoori chicken, and biryanis. Its mild heat and vibrant color make it perfect for adding a touch of spice without overpowering the dish. On the other hand, regular chili powder is a staple in Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwestern cuisines. It is used in salsas, enchiladas, tacos, and other dishes where a bold and fiery flavor is desired.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between Kashmiri chili powder and regular chili powder can elevate your culinary skills to new heights. Whether you prefer the vibrant color and subtle heat of Kashmiri chili powder or the very mild to intense spiciness of regular chili powder, both have their own unique characteristics that can enhance your dishes. So, go ahead and experiment with these exciting flavors in your kitchen!

Comparison chart to show the difference between Kashmiri Chili Powder And Regular Chilli Powder

Benefits of Kashmiri Chilli Powder

Using chillies in food have health benefits as well apart from lending the dish some heat.

If you ever wondered whether Kashmiri chillies is good for health, then here are some of the reasons for including them into your food. However be aware that excessive quantities may lead to disrupt the lining of the digestive tract. However consumption in small amounts has many benefits.

Rich in Vitamic C

Like most chillies, kashimiri mirch is high on Vitamin C, Vitamin B -complex and also on Vitamin A. Being a vitamin rich, according to Ayurveda it is a great source to naturally build your immune system. Vitammins also health in maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails.

Good Source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants helps to actively control the free radicals in the blood. Regular use of chillies esp Kashmiri chillies can help in building optimal health.

Help Ease Respiratory Disorders

Being mildly hot ans rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants helps ease respiratory disorders such as blocked and runny nose by dislodging phlegm from the chest.

May Help Maintain Iron Levels

Along with being a good source of of vitamins and antioxidants Kashmiri chillies also contain minerals like  iron, potassium, copper, and manganese that helps to regulate and maintain a iron in the body.

How To Store Kashimiri Chillies

It is best to store both the whole and powdered form in an air tight container away from light in a cool dark place.

Where to Buy Kashmiri Chillies

It may be a challenge to kind this type of chilli powder in a regular store. You will find Kashmiri mirch in any Indian store near you.

When buying look for those that have a bright red colour.

You can also buy them online if you wish as there are many brands. Here is one of my recommended brand:


The infographic below recaps all the uses and benefits of Kashmiri chillies for a quick reference.

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9 months ago

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

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