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Mar 19, 2012 11:04 AM

Help indentifying chilie pepper found in Indian store

I found the chilie peppers you see in the photo attached at a local Indian store. The sign next to them simply said "long peppers". I am wondering if anyone can help me identify what kind of peppers these are.

In particular, I am wondering if these are Thai "prik chii faa".

Thank you in advance for any replies!

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  1. They are not exactly the same.

    The long pepper used in Thai cooking is a different variety called "dee plee" is from the species "Piper retrofractum" while "Piper longum" is the variety from India.

    Prik Chii Faa is a different type of pepper, "Capsicum annuum".

    See this article:

    For pictures of Prik Chii Faa:

    3 Replies
    1. re: mahlzeit_yumyum

      Your last link looks much like the Capsicum annuum in the OP photo.

      1. re: mahlzeit_yumyum


        Maybe you're assuming that the chilies in the photo are "Indian long peppers" based on the sign I mentioned was next to them. But I don't think they are. If you google for "Indian long peppers" or "Piper longum", and look at images, you will see that they look very different from the peppers in the photo.

        They do in fact look very much like "Prik Chii Faa" to me. I don't know if "Prik Chii Faa" are also used in Indian cooking.

        I was hoping to see some Indian person purchase these while I was in the store so I could ask which dish they cook with them. However, everyone I saw shopping for chilies was going straight for the regular Thai chilies (the "Prik Kee Noo").

        1. re: ethnicchower

          Oops, didn't take the time to check the Piper longum.

          Did you try asking the store owner?

      2. This is just the common Indian chile. It is usually just called hari mirch (green chile) in Hindi/Urdu, but I believe technically its name is jwala mirch or pusa jwala. In English you may find it called long chile or Indian Finger Hot Chile. It is similar to cayenne chile and hot but much less hot than say, a bird chile. It is slightly fruity.;

        Seems its name is capsicum anuum like your Thai chile prik chii faa, but wikipedia makes it seem like capsicum anuum is a term that covers a lot of chiles and not just the Indian Finger Hot.

        8 Replies
        1. re: luckyfatima

          Most, maybe 90% of the chile varieties are anuum. There are 3-4 other capsicum species, but this one seems to have the genes that promote diversification in size, shape, and heat level.

          How would Piper longum be labeled in an Indian grocery? The Wiki article claims it would be 'pippali', the Telugu name. Looks like 'long pepper' is a translation of Latin or Italian. Europeans did use it at one time, but since it is now rare in European cooking, an Indian grocer is more likely to use a name derived from Indian usage. I've never seen it.

          1. re: paulj

            Oh that is the piper longum that is supposedly what was widely used as the heating spice of choice in Indian cooking at one time---before the Portuguese brought chiles from the New World. It is not a chile at all but like black pepper. It is completely unheard of in most Indian cooking in the modern era (not sure when it fell out of use, but at least a couple of centuries ago), but I have read that it is still used in some specific communities in the south, particularly in Kerala. I have never ever seen piper longum in an Indian grocery store. As I said, its use is very limited.

            1. re: luckyfatima

              It's still carried at a few, particularly those who claim to be "spice stores" Kalustyan's in NYC always has it on the shelves (which mean I assume that their mail order service carries it as well. Part of the reason it probably fell out of favor is that it is not easy to grind. Those seed masses are big and quite hard (far bigger and harder than most standard pepper grinders can take. And grinding it in a mortar and pestle takes serios muscle power. But it is actually a pretty pleasant spice tastes mostly like black pepper (of course) with a slight cardamom note.

          2. re: luckyfatima

            Thank you Fátima - that is extremely useful information!

            Now that I know the name of the pepper, I did a quick search, but could not find evidence of these two chilis being the same. The latin name for the Thai prik chii faa is "Capsicum annuum Linn. var acuminatum Fingerh." according to the following source:

            I couldn't find the latin name for the Indian Finger Hot Chile.

            They seem to have a similar level of hotness though (depending on which source you believe...), so maybe they're a good substitute for eachother.

            Do you know of any traditional Indian dishes that call for the Indian Finger Hot Chile?

            1. re: ethnicchower

              C annuum hybridizes and adapts to local conditions so readily that you can't neatly say, this variety is the same as, or distinct from, that variety. For many purposes, a heat level estimate based on size is sufficient.

              1. re: paulj

                That makes sense. Thanks for the info.

              2. re: ethnicchower

                As I said, this is the common Indian chile. When an Indian recipe calls for fresh green chile, it is typically this chile that would be the default chile.