I have quite a few recipes that call for a "red chili" or a "hot red chili". Exactly what type of chili are they asking for? I've never heard of a chili pepper called simply "red" or "hot red".
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Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Most chilis will go to red if allowed to ripen, so I think this could mean a red jalapeno or even Serrano, but I suspect that the author means to find any hot red chili at the store. It seems to me (just based on a LOT of shopping) that the long skinny varieties tend to be hotter than the shorter fatter guys. My store fortunately provides a Scoville chart so I can make an informed decision - my go-to is usually the Fresno.
Your answer is close to perfect except for one thing - size doesn't necessarily have anything to do with spiciness (after all, what's bigger yet milder than a bell pepper, or even a mild Italian frying pepper?). There are many teeny tiny peppers that are TRULY hot enough to be painful. For first-time pepper users, something along the lines of a cayenne or the peppers you mentioned are a good bet though, and it always pays to keep in mind that it's much easier to add more peppers later than to un-spice a dish once they're in there. You can also adjust the spice by serving regular ground black pepper at the table; the combination of ground pepper and fresh chilies is a classic in Szechuan cuisine in particular because while they both produce the sensation of spiciness, the affect different areas of the tongue and complement each other.
Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Orrrr...could they be referring to The Red Hot Chili Peppers the rock group? ;0)
Meaghan, I think Abbie is saying the same thing you are. Skinny, small.peppers seem to be hotter than their chubby cousins. I also find that to be true. To me, most jalapenos are too mild. I go for the skinny serranos or the teeny thai peppers.