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The facing heaven pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides; Chinese name: 朝天椒; pinyin: cháo tiān jiāo, also known as 指天椒; pinyin: zhǐ tiān jiāo meaning skyward-pointing chili pepper), is a cone-shaped, medium-hot chili pepper with very thin skin, between 3 and 6 centimeters in length, and 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter at the base. Originally from Sichuan province in Southwest China, it owes its name to the fact that it grows upside down. Because of its attractive appearance, the dried chili is often added to dishes whole (whereas Sichuan chilies are more likely to be broken up or crushed). When lightly fried in oil it turns radiant red and loses enough of its heat to allow for it to be eaten whole. Because of import restrictions[vague], Facing Heaven chilies are difficult to find in the United States, but they are available in Chinese and specialty stores in Europe.

This chile pepper (when dried) is described as a pantry staple in the Sichuan province of China by Fuchsia Dunlop in her cookbook “land of plenty” on Sichuan cooking where she describes it as very fragrant and moderately hot (much less hot than tiny Thai chiles). The plant’s upright growing habit is typical of “ornamental” peppers.

Written on February 29th, 2012 , Botany, Vegetables Tags:

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