Thai Dragon chili peppers are a must for many Thai dishes. They are hot hot hot. Peppers require a full day of sun, can be planted in containers on a patio or deck. They produce profusely and the bright colors are beautiful to liven up any area that is dull.
Once temps are at least 80, sow seeds about 1/4" in a well draining medium. Peppers will germinate slowly if temps are lower. You can use a heating mat inside to germinate if you have one. Once they germinate, they will need light. I use vermiculite, perlite and a little peat moss that has been dampened as a starter mix. You can sow directly in the garden also.
Once your peppers germinate, they can grow in soil temps that are 55-65 at night.
Harvest is 80 days, peppers turn from green to red at maturity and will be 1-2 inches long.
Dried Whole Chilli Peppers (prik haeng in Thai) are integral to Thai cooking.
It is easy and you can save money by drying your own. You will know that there are no chemicals used which is not true for most of the dried peppers on the market.
Let peppers ripen on the plant. Once ripe, pick and cut open in half. Place each half upside down on a screen, paper plate etc in the sun to dry. Let dry for 8 hours. The next day, turn them over and again let them dry in the sun for eight hours.
Peppers will be dry enough when they are almost brittle and you can break them easily between your fingers.
You can save the seeds for more plants next year.
You can also use a dehydrator if you have one. A dehydrator with a fan will take eight to ten hours.
Pound in a mortar and pestle to make homemade curry paste. Dry roast whole chilies and add to rice dishes and Kanom Jeen (Thai Spaghetti).
Dried chilies may be deseeded, to decrease the heat, by cutting off the end at the stem crosswise, and then rolling the pod to loosen the seeds and then shaking the seeds out. Pre-soak if desired or as specified in your recipes, but this step can be skipped. In dishes calling for whole fresh chilies, when not available, substitute dried whole chilies soaked in hot water for several minutes.
Store dried chilies in a tightly sealed glass container for up to one year.
CAUTION; Handle the seeds and peppers with care, they can irritate the skin. Don't even think about rubbing your eye!!
These hot peppers also will deter pests in your garden, so plant them around other plants as a compaion plant. Most pests and diseases don't bother hot pepper plants.