Curd chilli is a popular South Indian condiment similar to papadams. Curd chillies don't pertain to a specific type of chili pepper but rather involve a process of marinating, curing, and sun-drying them for preservation.
Prepare a large batch during summer and enjoy them throughout the year. Also called sandige menasu or mor milagai, they are perfect when paired with dal-rice, curd rice, or used in tempering chutneys.
Curd chilli or dahi mirchi is traditionally prepared during summer, and this dish involves sun-drying marinated chili peppers under direct sunlight. By making a large batch, you can store them for year-round use. Mildly spiced chili peppers are typically used in this preparation.
Curd chilli doesn't pertain to a specific type of chili pepper but rather involves a process of marinating, curing, and sun-drying them for preservation. While the process is simple, it requires patience as the chilies need to be sun-dried for approximately 7 to 8 days. Compared to making other papads, this is relatively easier to prepare.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Flavorful condiment: Curd chilli serves as a delightful condiment that adds a burst of flavor to various dishes. The combination of tangy curd, spices, and the unique taste of sun-dried chili peppers creates a distinct and enjoyable culinary experience.
- Simple preparation: This dahi mirchi recipe is relatively simple to prepare, requiring a few basic steps. Marinating the chili peppers in the yogurt-spice mixture and sun-drying them gradually allows the flavors to develop while preserving the chilies.
- Year-round availability: By making a large batch and properly storing the sun-dried curd chilli, they can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Chili peppers: Use small green chili peppers for this recipe. You can use mild or hot chilies, depending on your preference.
Curd: Curd is nothing but plain yogurt. Yogurt with a slight tang works very well to make curd chilies.
Fenugreek seeds: This recipe calls for only one spice. It not only adds flavor but also helps with preservation.
Step 1: Dry roast the fenugreek seeds until golden. Let it cool completely and then grind it into a fine powder.
Step 2: In a bowl, take curd (yogurt), fenugreek powder, and salt. Mix them well making sure there are no lumps in the yogurt.
Step 3: Before you handle the chili pepper, wear food preparation gloves. Slit the green chili making sure they don’t break apart. Slowly pour some of the curd mixture into the slit part of the green chili to stuff it. Repeat with all the chili peppers.
Step 3: Once all the chili peppers are stuffed, pour the remaining yogurt on top and cover the bowl. Place the bowl at room temperature overnight to let the chilies soak in the curd mixture.
Step 4: The next morning, spread the chili peppers on a steel plate to dry them under the sun.
Step 5: Store the remaining curd mixture in the refrigerator. Do not leave the yogurt at room temperature, as it may turn very sour and ruin the taste of the chili pepper.
Step 6: Place the plate under bright sunlight.
Step 7: In the evening, take the chilies from the plate and put them into the curd mixture. Let it sit on the counter overnight.
Step 8: The next morning, again take the chili peppers out and dry them in the sun them, as mentioned above. Place the remaining yogurt mixture back in the refrigerator until evening. Repeat this process for 2-3 days until all the curd is absorbed.
Step 9: After that, sun-dry the chilies until they are completely dry (can take another 3-4 days).
Alternate drying methods
Apart from sun drying the curd chilli or sandige menasu, there are two alternate methods you can use. Regardless of the drying method you choose, it is important to ensure that the chili peppers are dried thoroughly and do not retain any moisture. Properly dried curd chili can be stored in airtight containers for an extended period of time.
Oven Drying: Preheat your oven to a low temperature (around 150 F or 65 C). Arrange the marinated chili peppers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, making sure to space them evenly and avoid overlapping. Leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape. Let the chilies dry for several hours, checking their progress periodically, until they are completely dried and crisp.
Dehydrator: If you have a food dehydrator, it can be an efficient tool for drying the marinated chili peppers. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying vegetables, as the process will be similar. Typically, you'll need to arrange the chilies on the dehydrator trays and set the temperature and time according to the recommended settings. Periodically check the chili peppers until they are thoroughly dried.
Select fresh, green chili peppers that are suitable for stuffing and drying. Opt for chilies with medium heat levels, as excessively spicy ones may overpower the flavor of the curd filling.
When working with chili peppers, especially if they are spicy, I highly recommend wearing food preparation gloves to protect your hands. Avoid touching your face or eyes while handling chilies.
When the chilies are drying under the sun, place the remaining yogurt mixture in the refrigerator. In the evening, add the semi-dried chili peppers back into the yogurt and place the bowl in a cool spot at room temperature.
How to use curd chilli?
The first step in using the curd chili is frying them. Heat some coconut oil (or any cooking oil) in a small pan and add the curd chilies. Fry them on medium heat until they are brown and crispy. As an optional ingredient, add a few curry leaves towards the end of frying to enhance the flavor.
You can use curd chilli in various ways to add flavor and heat to your dishes. Remember to adjust the quantity of chilies according to your spice tolerance. Start with a small amount and gradually increase if desired. Here are some ideas to serve the fried sandige menasu or mor milagai:
As a condiment: Serve fried curd chilli as a condiment alongside meals. Simply place a few fried curd chillies on the side of your plate and enjoy them with rice, curries, dal, or any other main dish. Their tangy and spicy flavor complements a wide range of Indian dishes.
In chutneys and dips: Crush fried curd chili and use it as an ingredient in chutneys and dips. Alternatively, use them instead of plain dried chili when making the tempering for chutneys like coconut chutney or peanut chutney.
With snacks and street food: Mor milagai can be a fantastic addition to various snacks and street food. Sprinkle fried crushed curd chilies on bhel puri, sev puri, or papdi chaat for a spicy twist. They can also be used as a topping for sandwiches, wraps, or rolls to add heat and tanginess.
Yes, you can use various types of chili peppers for making curd chili. However, I recommend using green chilies with medium heat levels to balance the flavors.
Properly dried and stored curd chili can stay fresh for several months to a year. Make sure to completely dry them and store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
To store curd chilies properly and keep them fresh, ensure they are thoroughly dried, then place them in an airtight container stored in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. Avoid humidity, and if needed in humid conditions, add uncooked rice to absorb moisture in the container.
Yes, you can use curd chilies as a substitute for dried chilies in recipes. Keep in mind that curd chilies have a unique flavor profile, which may slightly alter the taste of the dish.
No. I highly recommend not freezing curd chili, as it can lose its texture and become mushy upon thawing. It is best to store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.
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Sun-Dried Curd Chilli
- Wash the green chillies and dry them completely using a paper towel.
- Dry roast the fenugreek seeds until golden. Let it cool completely and then grind it into a fine powder.
- In a bowl, take curd (yogurt), fenugreek powder, and salt. Mix them well making sure there are no lumps in the yogurt.
- Slit the green chilli making sure they don’t break apart.
- Slowly pour some of the curd mixture into the slit part of the green chilli to stuff it. Repeat with all the chili peppers.
- Once all the chili peppers are stuffed, pour the remaining yogurt on top and cover the bowl.
- Place the bowl at room temperature overnight to let the chillies soak in the curd mixture.
- The next morning, spread the chillies on a steel plate and let it dry under the sun. Store the remaining curd mixture in the refrigerator.
- In the evening, take the chillies from the plate and put them into the curd mixture. Let it sit on the counter overnight.
- It is important to keep the yogurt mixture in the refrigerator during the day when the chili peppers are drying under the sun. In the evening, take the yogurt mixture out of the fridge and add the semi-dried chillies. Then, place it in a cool spot at room temperature.
- The next morning, again take the chillies out and dry them in the sun them as mentioned above. Place the remaining yogurt mixture back in the refrigerator until evening.
- Repeat this process for 2-3 days until all the curd is absorbed.
- After that, sundry the chillies until they are completely dry (another 3-4 days).
- Store in an airtight container. Curd chilli is ready to use.
To serve curd chilli:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or any other cooking oil) in a small pan and fry the curd chilli until dark brown.
- Add a few curry leaves towards the end of the frying process to enhance the flavor.