Thai Chili Peppers (Bird’s Eye)
Thai chili pepper is a non-specific term, often referring to bird’s eye chilies common in Thai cuisine. Typically when you see peppers at the grocery store labeled as Thai peppers or if a recipe calls for Thai chili peppers, they are referring to bird’s eye peppers.
These chilies are also referred to as “Prik Khee Noo”, and there are a few different spelling variations of the name (prik KEE noo, prik khee nu).
These small but mighty peppers pack a punch of heat and flavor that can add a spicy kick to any dish. They are notably spicier than jalapeños: 10-15x hotter — but less spicy than most habanero peppers.
However, several other types of Thai chili peppers are less common in America and around the world. A few other types include prik khee fah (or prik chee fah), prik noom, prik leung, prik jinda, prik kaleang, prik yuak and more.
How hot are bird’s eye chili peppers?
50,000-100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
Capsicum annuum or Capsicum frutescens
In addition to their heat, Thai chili peppers also have a distinct flavor profile. They are known for their fruity and slightly sweet taste, with a hint of citrus and a subtle earthiness. When used in cooking, they can add depth and complexity to a dish, as well as a spicy kick.
Thai chili peppers (and specifically bird’s eye) are versatile peppers that can be used in a wide range of dishes, from soups and curries to stir-fries and marinades. They are particularly popular in Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian cuisine, where they are often used to add heat and flavor to dishes such as tom yum soup, pad Thai, and green papaya salad. They are eaten in many forms: raw, cooked, and dried/powdered.
Where to get Thai chili peppers
Many American supermarkets have Thai chili peppers, and if you don’t see them at your Walmart Supercenter, try a local Asian grocer. They are also commonly used in commercial products like hot sauces (try Dragon’s Breathe Green Thai Chili Sauce or Bird’s Eye Chilli Sauce by African Dream Foods), chili powders, and seeds to grow at home.