This powder adds mild heat and deep red-orange color to many traditional dishes. Let's take a closer look at what makes Deggi Mirch unique.
Deggi Mirch: An Essential Ingredient in Indian Cuisine
Deggi Mirch is essential in making authentic Indian food across different regions. It adds taste, aroma, and visual appeal to curries, gravies, snacks, bread, and more.
Though Deggi Mirch contains spicy Kashmiri red chilies, it is relatively mild in terms of heat. It ranks 1,500 to 2,000 on the Scoville scale, whereas paprika is around 500, and cayenne can be 50,000 or more.
So while the Deggi Mirch spice blend does have a mild kick, it is used more for imparting flavor, taste, and color rather than significant heat or spice. When dry, the powder can seem similar to paprika, but when fried in oil, it takes on a richer, more complex taste.
The deep crimson red color comes from special Kashmiri red chilies that are bred to retain their pigmentation. Unlike most dried chilies that turn a faded brownish-red, Kashmiri chili powder keeps an eye-catching dark red color even when ground down to a powder.
This vibrant red hue is perfect for adding visual appeal to dishes. The color also comes from the red bell peppers. The Kashmiri chilies and red bell peppers create a spice blend that enlivens curries, soups, bread, rice, and more with a rich red-orange color.
Selecting High-Quality Deggi Mirch
When buying Deggi Mirch powder, look for well-sealed packaging that keeps the powder fresh. Avoid bags where the powder looks faded or dry. The best Deggi Mirch will have a robust, vivid red color.
You can also find whole dried Kashmiri red chilies and red bell peppers. Choose ones that look plump and shiny. You can grind them home into a fresh batch of powder. Store the powder in an airtight container away from heat, light, and humidity.
If you run out of Deggi Mirch, you can substitute paprika or Kashmiri red chili powder. Regular paprika may lack the complexity of Deggi Mirch, so try using smoked paprika instead. It will provide a richer flavor.
Kashmiri chili powder makes a good alternative too. While not the same, it contains the right kind of chilies and can mimic the color and mild heat of Deggi Mirch.
Culinary Uses of Deggi Mirch
Now that you know what Deggi Mirch is, let's look at the diverse ways it is used in Indian cuisine:
Northern Indian food:
In northern parts of India like Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, Deggi Mirch is used in:
- Meat curries like chicken, goat, and lamb
- Vegetable curries and sabzis
- Lentil preparations, known as dals
- Flatbreads like naan, tandoori roti, parathas
The powder is sprinkled generously on tandoori dishes before roasting to give a lovely color. It also adds mild heat and a smoky flavor.
Southern Indian food:
In southern states, Deggi Mirch is widely used in:
- Rice dishes like biryani
- Lentil stews called sambhars
- Rasam soup
- Spicy kebabs and tikkas
- Coconut based curries
It adds aroma, color, and mild spiciness to various gravies and dry preparations.
Snacks and appetizers:
As a topping for chaats and snacks, Deggi Mirch gives a vibrant hue and tangy flavor. It is used on:
- Chaat like bhel puri, pani puri and dahi puri
- Chili paneer
- Grilled snacks
The powder can be kneaded into doughs or sprinkled on bread like:
- Tandoori roti
It gives a reddish tinge and enhances the flavor of the bread.
Sprinkled on pulaos and biryanis, Deggi Mirch spices up the rice with its beautiful color and mild zing.
It is also used in:
- Vegetable pulaos
- Fried rice
- Lemon rice
- Coconut rice
How Hot is Deggi Mirch?
If you are wondering about the spiciness of Deggi Mirch, here is a detailed look:
Milder than regular chili powder:
Compared to common chili powder, which can be pretty hot and spicy, Deggi Mirch is mild and more flavorful. The Kashmiri chilies used in the blend add taste and color more than burning heat.
Hotter than paprika:
Paprika is a very mild spice, rating around 500 Scoville heat units. Deggi mirch is moderately spicy at 1,500 to 2,000 units. So while hotter than paprika, it does not make dishes overly spicy or intolerable for those with low heat tolerance.
Less hot when dry:
In its dry powdered form, it has a mild paprika-like taste. But when sautéed in oil, it has a richer flavor and gets hotter. So the powder has a milder effect on dishes when used dry rather than cooked in oil.
Spicier than Kashmiri Mirch:
Kashmiri red chili powder is milder and lower on the Scoville scale than Deggi Mirch. Since Deggi Mirch also contains hotter chilies besides Kashmiri ones, it has a bit more heat and kick.
Not as hot as cayenne:
Cayenne pepper powder can reach a blistering 50,000 Scoville units. So Deggi Mirch is nowhere close to the heat of cayenne and other spicy dried chilies. It ranks as a moderately spicy blend.
Is Deggi Mirch Healthy?
Deggi Mirch also offers an impressive nutritional profile.
Here are some of its health benefits:
High in antioxidants:
The capsaicin in chili peppers has potent antioxidant properties. Counteracting oxidative stress helps prevent cell damage and lower disease risk.
Red bell peppers are packed with vitamin C, a nutrient vital for immune health. Vitamin C helps your body fight infections better.
Improves eye health:
Chilies contain vitamin A precursors called carotenoids with antioxidant effects that maintain eye health and lower the risk of vision problems.
Aids iron absorption:
The capsaicin in chilies increases iron absorption, helping prevent deficiency of this essential mineral. Especially useful for those prone to anemia.
May improve heart health:
Some research indicates capsaicin can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart health. More studies are needed to confirm this benefit.
Deggi mirch contains compounds that lower inflammation in the body. This helps reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions like heart disease.
Q: What is deggi mirch?
A: It is a spice blend made from Kashmiri red chilies and bell peppers. It adds vibrant red-orange color and mild heat to Indian dishes.
Q: What cuisine uses Deggi Mirch the most?
A: It is widely used in Northern and Southern Indian cuisine. It adds flavor, aroma, and visual appeal to curries, bread, rice dishes, kebabs, and more.
Q: How spicy is Deggi Mirch?
A: It is mildly spicy with a 1,500-2,000 Scoville units rating. It is hotter than paprika but much milder than cayenne pepper.
Q: What are some substitutes for Deggi Mirch?
A: Good substitutes include paprika, especially smoked, and Kashmiri red chili powder. While not the same, they can mimic the color and mild heat.
Q: What are the health benefits of Deggi Mirch?
A: It contains antioxidants, vitamin C for immunity, vitamin A for eye health, and anti-inflammatory compounds. These provide benefits like boosting immunity, improving vision, and reducing inflammation.
Q: How should you store Deggi Mirch powder?
A: Store away from heat, light, and humidity in an airtight container to preserve freshness and color. Use within a few months for the best flavor.
Q: Can you use Deggi Mirch on chicken and fish?
A: Yes, it adds delicious flavor, aroma, and color to chicken and fish curries, kebabs, and tandoori dishes. It is great for spicing up poultry and seafood.
Deggi mirch is an essential Indian spice blend containing Kashmiri chilies and red bell peppers. It adds vibrant red color and moderate heat to various regional dishes.
Its mild spiciness, intense color, and smoky flavor bring an authentic touch to curries, snacks, bread, and more.
This versatile spice blend also provides beneficial antioxidants and nutrients. So along with making food more delicious, Deggi Mirch can be a healthy addition to your diet when used in moderation.
Exploring traditional Indian recipes that use Deggi Mirch is a great way to incorporate its unique taste and health perks.