Lifescapes Gallery

24 / Jan / 2013
The Femme Fatale of Coorg!
Bird's eye chilli, Coorg Photograph: Jose Ramapuram Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Femme Fatale of Coorg!

While the women of Coorg have long been lauded for their beauty and grace, there’s one local lass whose petite visage disguises a fiery personality. Meet Kanthari, or the ‘dangerous lady’, whose writ runs across the hills and dales of Coorg, and makes even grown men quail. One of the spiciest chillies in the world, the Kanthari is also known as the Bird’s Eye Chilli in South East Asia and Kochchi in Sri Lanka, where it gives the native Sambols their potent ‘kick’. Used extensively in kitchens across Kerala (in small doses, and with lots of respect), this spice girl flourishes in Coorg and warms the hearths of the large Malayali expatriate population here. Occasionally, an adventurous native may slip a chilli or two into her Pandhi Curry, giving the boar a bite it never had in its original avatar. Like a lot of the citizenry of Coorg, however, the provenance of the Kanthari isn’t local. Like the rest of the chilli family, she too was brought into India by the Portuguese in the 16th century and introduced to a nation that promptly made it her own, and invested upon them honorary citizenship, much like another import: cricket, which many believe to be an Indian sport accidentally invented by the English! In the northeast of India, however the Kanthari isn’t given the same kind of respect, which can be gauged from the fact that the Garos of Meghalaya call it the Jal-ik-Meseki, which sounds impressive, but literally means ‘mouse-droppings chilli’, which isn’t exactly complimentary. But this is to be expected of a region that produces the World Heavyweight Champion in the spiciness stakes, the Naga Bhut Jolokia! However, while not in the same pin-code as the Jolokia, the Kanthari is one hot babe who punches way above her weight and is pungent enough to warrant keeping a fire extinguisher as standard equipment at your dining table.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 at 6:05 am and is filed under Coorg, Plantation . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Ganesh HR says:

    Dear Rajesh Ramasawmy sir, It is fantastic information about this chilli. We always take guest on plantation tour and through ‘Lifescapes’ we got some more information to talk about. Superb image!

  2. Kurt Kutay says:

    Who wrote this? Very nicely done!, very engaging writing style.

    • Swetha Sridhar says:

      Dear Kurt,
      Greetings from Orange County Resorts.
      Thanks for your wonderful comments. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed our recent issue of Lifescapes. Mr. Rajesh Ramaswamy, is the creative genius behind each story featured on Lifescapes. Click the link below to know more about him.

      We hope you will continue to enjoy ‘Lifescapes’.

      Warm regards,
      Swetha Sridhar
      Asst. Manager – Marketing
      Orange County Resorts & Hotels Ltd.

  3. nagesh amin says:

    It’s fire of taste,I like it.

    thanks regards
    amin

  4. Anu Elisha says:

    Brilliant write-up! Kudos to the author 😉

  5. Sanket Reddy says:

    Beauty of an image here.

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