Deggi mirch is a well-known Indian spice usually made from a mixture of colorful red capsicum and Kashmiri red chilies. Deggi mirch not only gives delicious flavor and aroma to dishes but enhances their color as well.
Soups get a lovely reddish-orange tint when ingredients like Deggi mirch are added.
Deggi mirch is also a pantry staple and essential ingredient for famous South Asian recipes like tandoori chicken, vegetable curries, naan or paratha bread, traditional dishes, rice, etc.
Many Asian recipes rely on Deggi mirch for fragrance and colorful presentation. Sometimes Deggi mirch is mixed with moderately mild Garam Masala for flavoring the biryanis, kababs, and soups.
How hot is deggi mirch?
The main reason for using Deggi mirch in recipes is its unique taste- it enhances and enriches the overall flavor profile of all dishes it’s added to. In comparison to other spices, Deggi mirch is mild in heat, but it’s hotter than spices like paprika.
The main purpose of using this mirch in cooking is to enhance color, taste, and aroma rather than just adding heat.
If you are making a recipe that calls for adding Deggi mirch but don’t have it on hand, then there are some substitutes you can add. Here is my run-down of various alternative options for Deggi mirch.
Deggi Mirch Substitutes
1. Kashmiri Chili Powder
It is a simple dried, red-colored powdered chili used in recipes like curries, lentils, soups, etc. Traditional recipes call for Kashmiri chili powder mainly for the benefit of color and a unique sweet and spicy flavor.
It is suitable for recipes that do not require a lot of heat (some kebabs, for example). Adding Kashmiri chili powder to dishes before smoking with wood charcoal packs a punch too,
As Kashmiri chili powder is an important constituent of a Deggi mirch spice mix, you can use it as an alternative when you’ve run out of Deggi mirch for your next Indian meal.
You can also add Kashmiri chili powder and red chili to impart a powerful red color to dishes like chicken tandoori.
Vitamin C is important for the health of blood vessels and skin. Kashmiri chili is a good source of vitamin C as well. Regular use of these chilies in moderate amounts will help build your immunity.
The most common item in every household is paprika, and it’s a good substitute for Deggi mirch. There is a similarity of flavor between the two spices, so you can alternatively mix them.
However, the measure of heat that both provide is different, i.e., Deggi mirch is about 1,500-2,000 Scoville units, whereas paprika is around 500 Scoville heat units.
In dry form, both paprika and Deggi mirch are similar in taste. But when Deggi mirch fries in oil, the spices and taste become more aromatic and rich in flavor.
Hence, if you want to substitute paprika for Deggi mirch, you must know that the dish will lack fragrance and heat to some degree.
As the regular store-bought paprika lacks the intense level flavor of Deggi mirch, we suggest you use smoked ‘La Vera’ pimenton Picante paprika as a Deggi mirch substitute.
3. Cayenne Peppers
Deggi mirch also includes red chili in its contents. It is a kind of red chili pepper that is closely related to bell peppers and jalapenos.
Hence, in case of the absence of Deggi mirch, you can add cayenne peppers to your dish. Cayenne peppers add a solid degree of heat to dishes.
Cayenne pepper is extremely useful in cooking alongside the health benefits it provides. These peppers in food have nutritional benefits, and it includes a wide range of antioxidants necessary for your health.
An active ingredient of Cayenne peppers is capsaicin, which is responsible for the hot taste of cayenne pepper. Capsaicin is anti-inflammatory and promotes good heart health.
4. Red Chili Flakes
Red chili flakes are another ingredient that can replace Deggi mirch and can be easily sourced from your local store. These are also typically served by pizza places and add a zing to the cheesy meal.
Most chili flakes you get in a supermarket are a variety of dried and crushed-up red chili peppers. They are not grounded, so you’ll find some texture difference in both.
Chili flakes are hot enough to replace Deggi mirch, but they aren’t great for adding color. They’re milder than Cayenne pepper, though. I recommend adding paprika and red chili flakes if you don’t have Deggi mirch in your home.
Gochugaru is a mixture of red pepper flakes that are coarsely grounded to present a bright, eye-catching red powder. Gochugaru is produced from sun-dried chili peppers and carries a somewhat smoky quality that distinguishes it from other types of chilis.
While it’s primarily used in Korean cooking, Gochugaru can be added to replace Deggi mirch.
However, be aware to test Gochugaru out before adding it to your next family dinner as it alters the food’s flavor a little bit thanks to its smoky aroma. You can add it to soups and curries that require Deggi mirch and see how it tastes.
6. Hot Sauce
Now we’re not telling you to add a chipotle hot sauce to lentils or curry, but a regular hot sauce can be an excellent Deggi mirch substitute in soups and some sauces.
A few dashes of hot sauce bring heat to most soups. Louisiana Style Hot Sauce, Habanero, and Tabasco are good options, but a vinegar-free hot sauce can be even better.
7. Byadagi Chilies
Also known for their deep red color, Byadagi chilies are another Deggi mirch substitute. You can add these chopped or ground up. They have a lower heat level than cayenne but carry a punch in flavor.
To get a better and deeper shade of color from Byadagi chilies in your traditional dishes, you can grind these. Start by dry roasting these chilies for a good few minutes, then grind them into powder.
You can mix the powder with other spices like Garam masala or chili flakes.
You can also make a paste with Byadagi chilies by soaking them in water for around 30 minutes, then using a food processor to grind. Both powder and paste are great at extracting the color.
8. Ancho Chili Powder
Lastly, we have the ancho chili powder. Ancho chilies are a popular part of Mexican cuisine and are made by drying and grinding up Poblano peppers.
Ancho chili powder has a hint of smokiness like Deggi mirch and gives a slightly sweet taste with mild heat. The heat level of ancho chili powder is comparable to Kashmiri chili (around 1500-2000 SHU).
However, we don’t recommend going out of your way to getting this specific chili as it’s not used in Indian cuisine and can impart a different flavor than expected. It’s also not as red as Deggi mirch and will give little to no color.
And that concludes our list of the best Deggi mirch alternatives. Now that you know all the various options, be sure to pick the substitute that matches all the necessary characteristics of Deggi mirch, i.e., flavor and unique reddish-orange color that your cookbook dish has.
Of course, no substitute can fully replace Deggi mirch, but you can get the correct amount of heat and color by using a combination of these.