Bird’s Eye Chilli of Meghalaya

Bird’s Eye Chilli is treasured for its unique pungency and spiciness. The chilli gets its name from its petite size and a shape which is similar to a Bird’s Eye. Chillies are believed to have been cultivated for over 6,000 years and since then different varieties of chillies have been discovered.

A handful of Bird's Eye Chilli

Notice the image closely, is it not so? Long, slender and tapering! Bird’s Eye chilli is believed to have a high Capsaicin content. It is grown in most parts of the Northeast India, mainly in the states of Meghalaya and Assam and is also cultivated in the state of Kerala. Bird’s eye chilli plants require ample amount of shade and water for proper growth.

Six Months – From Planting to Harvesting

The fields are prepared in March when all foliage is cleared and then ploughed. In April, the seeds are sown and June sees the saplings transplanted. By September, the chillies are ready for harvesting.

Burning Sensation Which Is Not Unpleasant

Capsaicin is responsible for its pungency. So how does this work? Capsaicin present in chilli binds with the receptors in the mouth. These receptors are responsible for sensing the heat, leading to a burning sensation. But, people tend to love it once they get used to it!

Using Bird's Eye Chilli at Home

It is used widely for seasoning purposes, but take care to start with a little quantity at a time. The way it is most relished in Meghalaya is in its pickled form where additional spices like fenureek, fennel Seed, black cumin seed, mustard seeds and bishop weed seeds are blended in. The pickle looks visually very appealing and it adds a great punch to salads too.

Dried Bird's Eye chilli
ground bird's eye chilli used for pickle
Ground Bird's Eye chilli used for pickle

Grab a copy of the unique spices of Northeast India

Medicinal Benefits

Bird’s eye chilli possess numerous medicinal properties, mainly due to its high Capsaicin content. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, it is believed to help improve appetite and aid in controlling flatulence. It is also believed that regular consumption of Bird’s Eye chilli helps in controlling cholesterol level and even blood pressure.
bird's eye chilli pickle
Bird's Eye chilli pickle
Meghalaya spices infographic

Zizira is proud to present all chilli aficionados with a range of chillies in various forms. Visit Zizira's store for a masala treat in spices ranging from Lakadong turmeric to Pepper to Chillies!

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Donovan Kharbuli

Donovan Kharbuli

Hello…i actually want to know the receipe for preparing bird’s eye chilli pickle….kindly help me

Badal Nyalang

Badal Nyalang

Hi Donovan,

You can get the recipe here: Bird’s Eye Chilli Pickle. It would be great if you can share the pictures with us once it’s done. We would love to share it with our audience.


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