Updated: Apr 20
When we first got to know about the mysterious Lakhori Chilli (peeli mirch or yellow chilli) we were struck by a heightened sense of curiosity that wouldn’t slake unless we tried it. Countless calls, transfers and days of research later we found ourselves roaming in the quaint villages in Uttarakhand sampling Lakhori mirch. We still vividly remember ourselves sneezing the first time we entered a room crammed with yellow chillies. Our farmers couldn’t help but laugh. Let’s blame the pungency of the yellow chillies/peeli mirch for that.
Now why do we call this Lakhori chilli (yellow chilli or peeli mirch) the mysterious chilli?
Well firstly because not many people know of Lakhori chilli's existence. Secondly and surprisingly even the farmers growing peeli mirch did not know how it's being used and where is all the peeli mirch produce they are cultivating finally reaching. Some said peeli mirch is used for making tear gas while some simply said that the main town trader comes to their farm and collects all their peeli mirch in gunny bags, pays them and leaves. What happens after that remains an enigma we resolved to put an end to.
How did we go about Lakhori Chilli or Peeli Mirch sourcing?
We had reached out to a couple of small farmers in the region who grow Lakhori Mirch prior to our visit and upon arriving we spent the next 3 days touring their farms dotted with yellow chillies and looking absolutely mesmerising. Every farmer we spoke to sold his yellow chilli produce to a local trader who collects the produce of 10 such other farms, ultimately mixes it and further sells it to a wholesaler. Now in this entire process the yellow chilli farmer is rarely compensated fairly. The whole agriculture setup is pretty corrupt in the sense that the actual farmer growing the crop never really gets paid adequately for his hard work. This bothered us and we wanted to change it. So we decided to pay our partner Lakhori Chilli farmer more than the prevailing market price, one that justifies the efforts he puts into producing such amazing Indian hierloom spices/ingredients for us.
After visiting about 5 peeli mirch farms we were left with one last round to do. An hour and a half long trek later we reached Kamal’s village, right in the middle of a mountain with step farms as far as the eye can see. We could see fiery orange yellow chillies sun-drying on rooftops, crimson red amaranth (Ramana, Rajgir, Chaulai) swaying on fields, gigantic limes(lemon, nimbu) hanging down trees that you couldn’t resist but pick (with permission of course) and for a moment we had completely forgotten why we were there. Such a beautiful sight to behold.
When we reached Kamal’s house we were greeted by the most heart-warming family ever. Very eagerly they gave us a quick garden tour and wow, we hadn’t seen such ginormous pumpkins(kaddoo) or cucumbers(kheera) ever. Of all the yellow chillies we sampled, his was undisputedly the best, without any second thoughts we picked it up for ya.
This Lakhori Chilli sourcing is very close to our heart, it marks our first ever field trip to the beautiful step farms of Uttarakhand while also giving us the opportunity to hand-pick some Yellow chillies for y’all. Our heart’s filled with all kinds of emotions. The planting period for the Lakhori Chilli is May-June. The first picking starts in October and continues till December so it’s the freshest harvest that you’re getting your hands on. When we took a bite of the yellow chilli we could feel a slow burn which intensified to gulping down a glass of water and stuffing our mouth with jaggery(gur, gud)) in no time. After all the Lakhori chilli does rate 50,000-55,000 units on the Scoville Scale.
We hope you enjoy this yellow chilli or Lakhori chilli as much as we did getting it for you. We’d love to hear your feedback so do drop in your comments below or hit us up on our social pages, we’re pretty active there. Catch ya in the next harvest.