No other commodity imported to India has affected the life of Indians as much as chillies have. It is unlikely that there is any Indian who has not tasted chillies. Indian cuisine used pepper and other spices until chillies arrived in Goa on a Portuguese caravel coming from Brazil in the early 16th century. The first mention of chillies in Indian literature is in a poem by the South Indian composer and saint poet Purandaradasa, written in 1560’s. The poem states:
I saw you green ..... Then turning red as you ripened ..... Nice to look at and tasty in the dish .....
Enhancer of good food ..... And when I eat you ..... Even to think of Vithala is difficult!
Today India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of chillies. Per capita consumption of chillies is 27 grams
per day. We produce about 7 lakh tons of chillies every year. We even export them to Brazil!