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.