Everest New

Unlocking the Flavor Beyond the Heat

As an apprentice in Chef Sagar’s kitchen, one of the first lessons I learned was the subtle art of taming chili peppers’ fire to reveal their full range of flavor. While many chilis dish out blistering heat, true mastery lies in coaxing out their fruitiness, earthiness, and richness of aroma.   

Chef Sagar showed me how it is done using mild red Kashmiri chilis that offer complexity beyond their mild spice. Their fruity notes shine through when dried gently instead of roasted, limiting the bitter compounds that amp up the heat. 

The Everest Cuisine Chefs use mild red chili powder to create a versatile chili sauce that highlights the chilis’ depth of flavor. The sauce calls for:

• 100 grams of ground Kashmiri chili powder

• 6 to 8 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 1/2 cup water

• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chili powder and paprika and fry for 2 minutes while constantly mixing.

Pour in the lemon juice and water, then stir to form a smooth paste. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 to 7 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Ground into a powder and simmered in oil with garlic and aromatics, these Kashmiri chilis transform into a versatile chili sauce that acts as a magical culinary key – unlocking hidden flavors in every dish it touches.   

One sip left me with a pleasant lingering warmth, noticing floral and citrusy undertones balancing the heat. Like a master chef, the sauce enhanced the essence of each ingredient without overpowering them.   

Watching Chef Sagar add this concoction to curries, marinades, and more, a new culinary lesson dawned on me: Heat is just one aspect of chili peppers. Their real potential lies in drawing out harmony between spice, acid, and aroma to create alchemy on the plate. 

Our Chefs like to drizzle this chili sauce on potato curry and paneer tikka masala. The sauce intensifies flavors without overwhelming dishes with heat, allowing other ingredients to shine. He also adds it to marinades before grilling, imparting notes of smoke and chili pepper fragrance.

Experimenting with mild red chilis and transforming them into culinary gold can elevate your cooking. With patience in selecting and preparing the chilis, you’ll draw out their complexity and balance their heat with aromatics and acid for remarkable flavor.

No longer would I see chili peppers as one-dimensional heat makers. Thanks to Everest Cuisine that ruby red sauce, I now understand heat is just the doorway that opens up onto a whole world of culinary wonder beyond.  And wonder is the true secret in this kitchen – the ability to transform ordinary ingredients into dishes that lift the spirits and delight the senses through imaginative use of proportion, balance, and harmony.

Chef Sagar says it best: “Unlock the flavor, not the fire.” Words I will keep close as I continue learning the subtly spiced lessons of this magical kitchen.


Craving flavorful vegetarian cuisine but tired of the usual humdrum
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