Field Notes

Pepper of the Week: Prik Chi Faa

Little is known on this week's Pepper of the Week. However, this chili pepper has left a lasting effect on the taste buds of many people across the globe. Many just don't know that. That's because Prik Chi Faa is the unsung hero of a niche group of hot saucers. Just who are we talking about? Read on! 

What is a Prik Chi Faa Pepper?

Okay, first...let's get to the bottom of pronouncing this pepper. The correct way is:
phrikH cheeH faaH

Formal greetings out of the way, the Prik Chi Faa has a slightly sweet taste with a moderate-to-hot flavor profile. When picked early, the green Prik Chi Faa Peppers are popular to use in stir-fries.

Prik Chi Faa
Image via Kitazawa

The longer Prik Chi Faa harvest, the more heat these peppers begin to pack. Then, they are dried up and ground into spices or thrown into popular Thai dishes such as Pad Thai. These crispy Eastern peppers run the Scoville gamut from 5,000 SHU to 30,000 SHU. 

History of the Prik Chi Faa Pepper and Sriracha

Not much has been said about the history of this pepper. However, Prik Chi Faa is infamous for spawning the popular sriracha craze still going strong today!  

Sriracha

Image via Paul Narvaez

Do you love Sriracha? Yeah, well the Thai people don't. That's because the Vietnamese-American version tastes nothing like theirs! The concept of Sriracha came from Thailand. A woman named Thanom Chakkapark from a community known as Sri Racha created the blueprint for today's Sriracha.
Ms. Chakkapark envisioned a cocktail sauce that would compliment the abundance of seafood in her seaside community. She integrated the following ingredients to make the prototype for the sauce dangling from keychains that we see today.
  • Prik Chi Faa
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Sugar

These ingredients would ferment in a cask for three months. The finished product is a liquidy substance almost the consistency of Tabasco sauce. Compared to the Sriracha we know, the spice level was quite mild.

How to Use Prik Chi Faa Peppers?

These peppers are very versatile. They are semi-sweet and slightly bitter. Due to such a range of notes, you can use Prik Chi Faa Peppers to compliment any dish. 

Some of the popular ways to use Prik Chi Faa Peppers include:

  • Raw Oyster Shooters
  • Khai Jiao Wok-Fried Omelette
  • Fried Food Sauce
  • Pad Thai
  • Seafood

Popular Ways to Use Prik Chi Faa Peppers

One of the methods Thai cuisine uses Prik Chi Faa is by grinding the pepper up into a paste. That way you can use it as a base in any broth, stir-fry, or even a blended beverage. Add a pinch of The Chili Lab Forager's Blend Flakes for an added flavor burst!

Prik Chi Faa Paste

Image via Curious Cuisiniere

Ingredients:

  • Dried Prik Chi Faa Chilies 
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Shallot, Chopped
  • 1/2 Stalk Lemongrass
  • 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger
  • 1/2 Lime
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • Cayenne Powder

To get the recipe, check out Curious Cuisiniere

How to Use Prik Chi Faa in a Meal

What if you don't want to make a paste? Do something a little more natural to your roots...Make a marinade. We've all made a delicious marinade a time or two, and this one is no exception. Sprinkle in some of The Chili Lab Grove Blend Chili Flakes to add some citrus nuance to this Thai-inspired dish. Here is a recipe for Crying Tiger Beef.

Crying Tiger BeefImage via 196 Flavors

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 T FLish Sauce
  • 3 T Tamarind Paste
  • Lime Juice
  • 2 T Palm Sugar
  • 2 T Water
  • 2 T Soy Saice
  • 1 Prik Chi Faa Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 1 Stalk Lemongrass
  • 3 Thai Basil Leaves
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Thai Scallion, Chopped

Get the full recipe at 196 Flavors

Get Social with Prik Chi Faa Pepper

Feel like a Prik Chia Faa Know-It-All. Spread the knowledge with us on Instagram all week long!

 

Sweet Potato Wedges with Herbs and Chili Salt

How it is already November?! We just can’t believe how quickly time has flown--it feels like we were just enjoying the sunny days of summer, and now all our free time is occupied with Thanksgiving planning and holiday brainstorming.

This time of year always feels a bit hectic, right? So we’ve learned to rely heavily on a few super easy recipes to get us through the beginning of the week, when the idea of laboring over a stove just doesn’t track. We’re sharing one such recipe today: roasted sweet potato wedges.

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Chilies for Breakfast

Chilies may not seem like the most obvious ingredient to reach for when preparing the first meal of the day. But we’ll argue that they have a place right alongside your first cup of coffee. Beyond enhancing breakfast staples like eggs, chilies might even be beneficial to your morning routine from a health perspective: the capsaicin in hot chilies triggers the production of endorphins in the brain. Who wouldn’t want to start the day with a surge of happiness?

Our favorite way to get our morning dose of chilies is avocado toast. The current darling of every hip restaurant in Brooklyn and beyond, this simple dish is easy to make, healthy, and the perfect canvas for an array of toasted chili flakes. Craving spice? Sprinkle your toast with piri piri flakes. Looking for a rich, almost sweet heat? Try aleppo pepper. Just don’t forget a good sprinkling of Maldon flaky salt and some lemon zest.

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Bourbon Smash

Bourbon smashes are the perfect summer drink. They are refreshing, like their cousin the Mint Julep, but with a little more bite! Take your smash to the next level by adding Pequin Chili Salt - The citrus and smoky notes of the Pequin pair perfectly with the Meyer lemons and bourbon. 

Ingredients - Makes 1 cocktail

1/2 Meyer Lemon

2 sprigs Mint

2 oz. Bourbon

3/4 oz Agave Nectar

4-5 Ice Cubes

1 tablespoon + 1 pinch Pequin Chili Salt

6-8 Ice Cubes

Directions

Take a chilled glass and lightly wet the rim. Dip the edges of the glass into a tablespoon of Chili Salt until the edge is fully coated. 

Slice the lemon half into thin strips, putting aside 1 piece. Next, remove mint leaves from one of the sprigs. Place lemon slices, mint leaves, bourbon, agave and a pinch of Chili Salt in a shaker. Muddle all ingredients together. Add 2-3 ice cubes and shake until contents are chilled.

Add 4-5 ice cubes to the glass and pour cocktail over ice. Garnish with lemon round and mint sprig.