Also known as ‘The Spice King’, Sriram Aylur is Executive Chef of St James’s Park’s The Quilon, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the world specialising in Southern Indian food.
Chillies have been used in cooking for more than 6,000 years. The Central and South Americas had one of the first cultivations and it was the Portuguese who brought chillies to India. The best varieties are grown in the central and southern part of India. Chillies are mainly used for pungency and colour and the amount they impart varies. For example, Byadgi chillies from southern India yield medium colour but a good level of heat. Resham Patti from central India yield good colour but medium heat. The heat of chillies is measured in Scoville heat and can vary from 1500 Scoville heat units (SHU) to 500,000 SHU. Until chillies arrived in India, peppercorns were the main source of heat in Indian cooking.
The capsaicin in chillies is supposed to have the ability to treat arthritis pain, diabetes, neuropathy and headaches. Capsaicin is also used in spray as a non-lethal weapon. Red chillies contain high levels of vitamin A and C. They also have high amounts of potassium, magnesium and iron.
Prawn Byadgi with Pietra beer (France, Corsica, 6%(abv) is a good combination that has equal amount of matching and contrasting notes. The chestnut flavour from Pietra and the after bitterness from the hops beautifully marries with the sweetness of the prawns and the heat of the chilli. Due to the subtle nature of the beer it lets the grilled prawn win – a heavenly combination and delicious…
Byadgi is a place in Karnataka in southern India and the chillies from this region have a lovely colour and are moderately spicy. This gives the marinade a bright look and the peppercorns give the dish extra heat. A simple but popular dish, Prawn Byadgi is as suited inside on a cold evening as on the barbecue in the summer…
- 12 cleaned king prawns, with tail
- 50g chilli paste
- 10g crushed black pepper
- 15g garlic paste
- 10g coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- Salt to taste
- Mix the chilli paste, crushed pepper, garlic paste, lime juice, salt and chopped coriander leaves.
- Marinate the prawns with the mixture. Leave it in a cool place for two hours.
- Cook on or under a grill until nice and crisp.