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Kashmiri Chili: Bright Color, Mild Heat

If you haven't tried Kashmiri chili, make room in your spice cupboard for this vibrantly red pepper that brings more color than heat to the dishes it flavors.

Grown in India, Kashmiri chili is hotter than paprika and milder than cayenne; some cooks mix the two if they can't get the more colorful Kashmiri chili. It's equally at home as a substitute for hotter peppers, if you don't want a fiery dish, or for paprika if you do prefer more heat.

With the deep red hue it imparts to foods, Kashmiri chili is called for in many dishes from the Indian subcontinent. It's also good in Mexican hot chocolate, chili-chocolate cookies and this vegan freezer fudge recipe from the My Heart Beets blog. In fact, you can use Kashmiri chili in any dish calling for chili pepper.

We've updated Ronit's classic Chicken Tikka Masala recipe to include this colorful, fruity pepper. We used the powdered Kashmiri chili, which is also available in whole pods (also known as Kashmiri Dhegi Mirchi) that can be soaked or roasted.

You can dial up the heat in this dish by adding a dash of cayenne.

Get the recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala with Kashmiri Chili