Culinary Creations: Chilli

Chilli always brings me back to a memory of four foolish choir mates competing in a green chilli eating contest which led to tummy aches (for the contestants) and peals of laughter (from the audience)! A hot-tasting berry in the nightshade family (of which tomatoes and potatoes are also members), chilli was apparently first discovered by Christopher Columbus in tropical America who called them peppers for their spicy hot taste.

Assorted varieties of chillies Assorted varieties of chillies

Due to its strong flavour, the use of chilli spread like wildfire throughout the world. Grown in almost every tropical region, it is indispensable to Asian cuisine. In Singapore, the red, small and thin chilli padi, and the long and thick green chilli are most commonly eaten. They are also used fresh or dried, whole or powdered in cooking.

Fresh, dried and powdered chilli Fresh, dried and powdered chilli

The spicy heat of chillies is measured in Scoville heat units, indicating the amount of capsaicin in the fruit, a chemical compound that stimulates nerve endings in the skin. The hottest chilli in the world can go up to millions of Scoville units!

Try the following recipe to fire up your taste buds. Rest assured though, that it uses the mild flavour of chilli to put a new spin on a classic favourite!

Green Chilli Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Green Chilli Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe extracted from Olive Magazine
  • 2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp soft cheese
  • Butter
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 4 slices of thick strong cheddar

Serves 2 people

  1. Mix the chillies, coriander and garlic into the soft cheese with a pinch of salt and some black pepper.
  2. Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry two slices of bread until they are lightly browned, then take them out. Add more butter and fry the next two slices of bread.
  3. Turn them over and put 1 slice of cheese onto each, then spoon half of the cream cheese mix on top of each one. Add another slice of cheese to each and press them down to squash the cream cheese outwards. Then, add the first two slices of bread browned-side down.
  4. Fry the sandwich until the pieces of bread on the base are brown, then add more butter and flip the sandwiches over. Keep frying, pressing down on the bread.
  5. Once the bread is browned all over and the cheese inside looks melted, take the sandwiches out, slice them in half and serve.

Written by: Debbie Chen, Assistant Director (Education, Programming)

Debbie is an ardent reader who often finds herself nose-deep in a dystopian novel. She has been involved in education since graduating from university, and enjoys bringing information to people in an engaging way that helps them see things in a new light.

This article is part of our Culinary Creations series.