Some people use chili flakes—a.k.a. red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper—as frequently as they use salt and pepper. The spice a popular table condiment in countries as dispersed as Hungary, Korea and the Middle East. In the U.S., you’re more likely to find the liquid equivalent, a bottle of hot sauce.
A pinch of heat enhances the taste of dishes from pizza and pasta (the classics are Pasta Puttanesca and Seafood Fra Diavolo) to dips, eggs, salads, soups and cooked vegetables. You can make barbecue sauce, hummus and salsa spicier to taste.; you can create spicy mashed potatoes, spicy rice and spicy yogurt.
Here’s a gadget for people who’d prefer a finer sprinkling than the conventional chunks of crushed red pepper. The find grind creates a more even seasoning:
The Trudeau Red Chili Pepper Grinder has a ceramic grinding mechanism designed for just for chili flakes. For $19.99, it’s an affordable gift for those who like their heat. You can pick one up at Amazon.com.
WHAT ARE CHILI FLAKES?
Chili flakes are made by roasting red chiles—generally cayenne or New Mexico chiles—then crushing them. The heat comes from the seeds, which contain the chemical capsaicin (cap-SAY-sin).
Check out our Chile Glossary to discover the history, different types of chiles, and why it’s inaccurate to call them “peppers” or chile “peppers.”
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