Diversity in India is not only restricted to culture and traditions. It is extended to our everyday life as well. India being the hotspot of multiculturalism has also given rise to sapid regional cuisines. Our cuisine has various key points that make us distinct from the rest of the world. One among them is probably the intense heat in our dishes, which everyone will agree to. Every dish across the subcontinent incorporates chillies either in small or generous amounts.

It is said that chillies, were brought by the Portuguese in the 16th Century. Although our beloved mirchi is not native to India, the country now has several varieties of chillies that are grown in India only. Moreover, India is one of the largest producers of chillies, contributing to 25% of the world’s total production. 

The heat level of these spices varies from each other, some are very strong that can actually break you into tears while some are less pungent or are mostly used for their colour. We have compiled a list of chillies that are quite popular all over the country.

1. Kashmiri Chillies

Kashmiri chilli is a dark-red coloured spice that might seem intimidating at first. But it has much less heat compared to others. This chilli is mostly used for adding colour to our lip-smacking dishes. Kashmiri lal mirch can be found in every household of India.

2. Jwala Chilli

They are also known as finger hot pepper, and are mostly grown in Gujarat. This cayenne-type chilli is very pungent in taste. Jawala chilli is fully grown in 85 days, which ripens from lime green to orange and then to red. They are served as an accompaniment with our various Indian snacks like samosa, vada pav, bread pakoda et al.

3. Khola Chilli

It is a famous variety of chilli, mainly grown on the hilly slopes of Canacona, Goa. This glistening red chill is a prime ingredient in various homemade condiments, including the piquant ‘recheado’ paste, they are used in making raw mango pickles as well.

4. Kanthari Chilli

Kanthari chilli is sometimes called the 'Bird's eye chilli' of Kerala because of their whitish small round shape (when matured). This chilli adds heat and also imparts a rich flavour to the dishes. Kanthari chillies are mostly sun-dried and are savoured as a condiment.

5. Bhut Jolokia

The name of the chilli is translated as ‘ghost pepper’. Bhut jolokia is an internationally-acclaimed hottest chilli in the whole world, the Guinness Book in 2007 noted. They are mostly cultivated in the North-Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Bhut jolokia can be enjoyed in any form whether as an individual spice or as an accompaniment like pickle, or with the combination of fermented fish and pork dishes.