• Kashmiri chilli bircher muesli (Sarina Kamini)Source: Sarina Kamini

Adding a little Kashmiri chilli to your morning bircher muesli revives a classic breakfast staple. Prized for its colour in Kashmiri cooking, it has a subtle, smokey and floral heat that’s milder than a medium ground chilli, but hotter than hot paprika.






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Kashmiri chilli is a really beautifully skirted aromatic. This chilli has a heart of flame. But around that? Smoke. Floral forward notes. Texture. Soft depth. Traditionally this is a chilli used for colour as much as heat. Kashmiri chilli gives colour to rogan josh and high sheen to baingan sabji. 

The contribution of chilli to aromatic structure goes far deeper than bringing heat and fire. Chilli is height and elegance, a hot air balloon lift to heavier foods. This is what makes Kashmiri chilli such a natural pairing with bircher muesli.

In the right quantity, Kashmiri chilli lightens up bircher without removing the key elements that make this dish so nourishing and delicious - chiefly, the dreamy density and delicious richness. 

The beauty of working Kashmiri chilli into the apple puree (ostensibly a mild apple pickle) means it’s easy enough to control the quantity of chilli added to the bircher. Two tablespoons in this recipe are, for me, the ideal result. But there’s a reason for adding either more or less depending on the breakfast audience.

Kashmiri chilli top tips

• Kashmiri chilli is wonderful in creamy winter soups. Stir a teaspoon into your mirepoix when prepping, or cook a little off in the butter and cream when prepping pumpkin or cauliflower soups.

• Blending Kashmiri chilli with a little ground red chilli will increase her intensity and reach.

• Fine white pepper will play with Kashmiri chilli to draw forward her warm floral notes.

• Whole dried Kashmiri chillies can be added to slow cooks for soft and subtle warmth.


  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp medium ground red chilli
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats or flaked quinoa
  • ½ cup coconut yoghurt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pepitas
  • ⅓ cup natural sultanas
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • Grated apple, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time overnight

  1. Core and slice one of the two Granny Smith apples. Place in a small pot with vinegar, water, all dried chillies, fennel seed and caster sugar. Heat to a simmer and turn down to cook on low for around 20 minutes, or until the apple is softened and has formed a soft puree.
  2. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool
  3. Roughly grate the remaining Granny Smith apple 
  4. In a separate large bowl, mix together oats or quinoa, grated apple, coconut yoghurt, heavy cream, walnuts, almond, pepitas, sultanas and shredded coconut.
  5. Mix 2 tbsp of the Kashmiri chilli apple puree into the bircher muesli. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Serve topped with grated apple.



• Kashmiri chilli is available for purchase at Asian grocers. 

• You can replace the oats with quinoa for a creamier, nuttier and less dense end result.


'Not just curry' is a fortnightly recipe column on SBS Food lead by spice lover, Sarina Kamini. It shares the flavourful insights and potential behind a different spice that may be tucked away in your pantries and is celebrated with a brand-new recipe. Find out more here.

Photography, styling and food preparation by Sarina Kamini.