Category: Spices

Chilies – Hot & Spicy


Siling Labuyo and Siling Mahaba, photo by PH Morton

Chilies – Hot & Spicy

There are many varieties of chilies in Asia, where spicy food are favoured. In the Philippines, there are a lot of different kinds of this spice but the two main ones are the siling labuyo which is the small red chilies on the above photo.  They are bird’s eyes chilies, which are really hot.  The above green one is the other popular one.  They are used in sinigang and paksiw (both delicious recipes).  They are also rather hot.

To lessen the hotness, the white membrane and seeds that run through the chilies should be removed.

As a rule of thumb the smaller the chili the spicier it is.

Chili Vinegar/Soy Sauce
Photo by JMorton

My favourite: soy sauce, a little vinegar, with chili flakes. Perfect for chips (French fries)

Chili flakes useful more many recipes like curry and spicy stews.

Spice: Saffron

"Safran-Weinviertel Niederreiter 2 Gramm 8285" by Hubertl - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons -

“Safran-Weinviertel Niederreiter 2 Gramm 8285” by Hubertl – Own work.

Spice: Saffron

Did you know?

Saffron is the most expensive spice of all.  It comes from the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus or saffron crocus.

To yield a kilo of saffron, you would need between 85,000 to 140,000 crocuses.

It used to be an offense during Henry VIII’s reign to add other ingredients in the making of saffron.  It was a capital punishment to adulterate the manufacture of saffron. 🙁

Alexander the Great apparently used saffron to keep his locks lovely and orange.

The word saffron comes from an Arabic word asfar which means yellow.



TiP:  To draw out the colour, aroma and taste from the dried saffron, the best way apparently was to soak it in slightly warmed orange juice.

Saffron is added to many recipes such as paella, biryani, rice pilau and many more.  The Philippines uses a great deal of saffron in their recipe.  I love congee (lugaw) with a garnish of saffron.

Philippine Chilis: Labuyo & Mahaba

Pangsigang sili, photo by PH Morton

Pangsigang sili, photo by PH Morton


From the above photo, the red chilis are the labuyo and the longer, bigger ones are the siling mahaba or finger chili.

Did you know?

The bird’s eye chili, or siling labuyo are hotter than the bigger longer chilies.

To counteract the spiciness of the chili, which causes a burning sensation to the mouth if you happen to bite into one of of these delicious babies 🙂 is to drink milk rather than water.