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Chilly is the universal spice of India. Chilly is nature's wonder. Its fruit appears in different sizes, shapes and colour. The fruit size of some varieties is more than hundred times that of others. The shape may be elongated or round and distal pointed, blunt or sucked in. Corrugated, leathery or smooth maybe the touch on outer skin. It may look like a bird's eye or a small orange fruit. Colour varies from blue, green, orange, red, yellow, violet, cream white to near black.

Chilly has two important commercial qualities. If some varieties are famous for red colour because of the pigment capsanthin, others are known for biting pungency attributed by  capsaicin.India is the only country rich in many varieties with different quality factors.

Chilly is an essential ingredient of Kerala curry. Curry is characterized by tempting colour and titillating pungency. Both are contributed by chilly. In curry, chilly is used as a paste, powder, broken split or whole form. There are Kerala pickles, especially with tender mango in which chilly powder is added lavishly to form a thick paste with biting sensation at the end of curing. In all Kerala  homes, chilly is used by the poor and the rich alike.