The Ramnad Mundu round chilli, also known as Gundu Molagai in Tamil, is a popular variety of chilli pepper primarily cultivated in the Ramnad (Ramanathapuram) district of Tamil Nadu, India. These chillies are relatively small and round to bell shape, resembling berries, and are typically about 1.5-5 cm in length and are usually sold dried.
Ramnad Mundu chillies are characterized by their vibrant red colour when ripe, though they start as green. They have a moderately thin skin and are known for their high heat level, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville scale, making them quite spicy.
The smell of Ramnad Mundu chillies is somewhat pungent, with earthy and fruity notes. They possess a firm texture and thin walls, often containing numerous small seeds inside. Despite their small size, they pack a considerable amount of heat, making them a favorite among those who enjoy spicy food.
In Tamil Nadu cuisine, particularly in the Ramnad region, these chillies are widely used in various dishes to add heat and flavour. They are a staple in curries, chutneys, pickles, and spice blends, contributing not just heat but also a distinctive flavour to the dishes. The chillies can be added whole, chopped, or ground into a paste, depending on the recipe requirements. In South Indian cuisine, some spices are usually tempered in oil or ghee and added to the dishes. I usually use Ramnad Mundu chilli when tempering the spices as it adds a special flavour and the necessary heat to the dishes.
Their prominence in Tamil Nadu’s cuisine has made them an essential ingredient and a recognizable symbol of the region’s culinary identity. Due to their high heat level and distinctive flavour profile, these chillies are cherished by spice enthusiasts and those seeking to experience the fiery taste of South Indian cuisine.
The Ramnad Mundu chilli’s popularity and distinctive characteristics make it a sought-after ingredient not only in regional Indian cooking but also among chefs and chilli aficionados globally who appreciate its intense heat and unique flavour.
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