Bullet chiles are small, cone-shaped, and taper slightly away from the stem, averaging 4 centimeters in diameter and 3-9 centimeters in length. The smooth, thin skin will ripen from bright green to a vibrant red when mature. The flesh is crisp and thick with a fresh, fruity scent of citrus when sliced. Bullet chiles have a medium heat that starts out mellow, peaks in intensity, and then quickly fades away.
Bullet chiles are available year-round.
Bullet chiles, botanically classified as Capsicum annum, have a medium heat that reaches 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units, a universal measurement for spiciness in chiles. Also known as the Heaven chile and Facing Heaven chile, Bullet chiles are used in their green and mature red state to add heat and flavor to many different culinary preparations. Bullet chiles are also used as an ornamental plant because of their unusual growth habits and bright red hues.
Bullet chiles contain vitamins A and C. They also contain capsaicin, the compound responsible for the burning sensation when chiles come in contact with tissue.
Bullet chiles are best suited for cooked applications such as sautéing, stir-frying, grilling, and roasting. Bullet chiles are considered by many to be too hot to be consumed raw, so the seeds and veins are removed, and the chiles are lightly cooked in oil to create a mild, palatable heat. The chile is also added whole, fried, and served in meat and vegetable dishes and added to sauces. Bullet chiles pair well with Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, green onions, cashews, leeks, and meats such as poultry, pork, and beef. Bullet chiles will keep up to two weeks when stored in a sealed bag in the refrigerator.