Byadgi Chili: Bright Red, Spicy Dried Indian Kaddi Chili

byadgi chili
Byadgi chili peppers are a variety of Capsicum annuum originating from Karnataka, India. They are prevalent in Indian cuisine for their smoky, umami flavors and high heat levels. Byadgis are commonly dried and ground up to be used in spice blends. 

What Is The Byadgi Chili?

Byadgi chili peppers are famously spicy peppers originating from India. Their name comes from the South Indian town of Byadagi, located in the Haveri district in the Indian state of Karnataka.

Byadgis have grown to be incredibly popular not just in Indian cuisine but also in kitchens all over the world. The pepper’s unique qualities and flavors have driven the international market to skyrocket, estimating over $75 million USD in sales annually.

These red chilis are unique in that their purposes go beyond the culinary, expanding into the use of their oleoresin for cosmetics. Deep reds found in the oils of the pepper make them highly desirable for producing nail polish, lipstick, and other cosmetics.

Of course, byadgis are also incredibly flavorful and spicy, making them perfect for the hot pepper lover. They are mostly enjoyed dehydrated and ground as a spice or paste for enhancing a variety of Indian dishes.

Byadgi chili pepper plants in Karnataka, India.
Byadgi chili pepper plants in Karnataka, India.

Other Names For Byadgi Chilis

Byadgi chilis go by several names, including byadgi chili, dabbi chili, and kaddi chili. Both kaddi and dabbi are most frequently used as distinctions for the two most popular types of byadgi chilis.

Byadgi dabbi chilis refer to byadgis that are often smaller and less spicy. They are also more bright in their red color and have more complexity in taste. Dabbis are also more popular for extracting oleoresin, as their richer color reflects the quality of the red oils found within the pepper.

Byadgi kaddi chilis are longer and far spicier. The word kaddi refers to the pepper’s stick-like appearance, as they are long and narrow compared to dabbi peppers. Kaddi is still incredibly flavorful, though the heat of the peppers can overwhelm the flavor.

How Spicy Are Byadgi Chili Peppers?

Byadgi chili peppers offer a potent heat, coming in around 50,000-100,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale. This puts them on a similar heat level to other popular hot peppers such as many Thai chili peppers, siling labuyo, Charleston hots, and chiltepin peppers.

As byadgis are most commonly used as a dried and ground spice, it’s good to compare them to one of the most popular dried peppers: cayenne. Cayenne typically comes in around 30,000-50,000 SHUs, meaning that the spiciest byadgis can be near twice as hot as the spiciest cayenne peppers. 

Using Byadgi Chilis In Cooking

Byadgis are highly sought after in Indian cuisine for their earthy, smoky flavors that can bring a lot of complexity to a dish. Pairing these unique flavors with its remarkable heat makes byadgi peppers popular in dishes such as pork vindaloo, fresh chutneys, Kolhapuri chicken, tikka masala, and many other spicy curries.

You can also implement byadgi in just about any of your favorite foods. I love using byadgi as a substitute whenever I reach for the cayenne pepper in my spice cabinet. Whether adding pungency to a simple soup, like traditional south Indian sambar, or increasing the complexity of flavors in a marinade, byadgi powder is excellent to have on hand at all times!

sambar with byadgi chili
Traditional south Indian sambar with byadgi chili.

Other Uses For Byadgi Peppers

Byadgis are also a source of oleoresin for the cosmetics industry. Oleoresin is a naturally occurring red oil in chili pods that can be used as a coloring in various products once extracted.

Oleoresin extraction has become a major factor in the byadgi chili’s popularity. Refined oleoresin from byadgis has drastically increased the byadgi market as oleoresin is exported worldwide.

Where To Buy Byadgi Peppers

Byadgis are becoming easier to find in local grocery stores, but they are rare. Specialty Indian and South Asian stores are your best bet for finding dried byadgis.

If you don’t have a nearby store offering byadgis, many online retailers offer dried whole peppers, ground as a spice, and byadgi pepper plant seeds.

Can You Grow And Dry Your Own Byadgi Peppers?

While these peppers can be difficult to find outside India, you can grow them right in your backyard. Much like other varieties of Capsicum annuum, byadgis can grow in a wide variety of environments. 

As long as you can provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures, water, and well-drained soil, your byadgis should thrive. Expect your byadgi chili plant to grow about 2 feet in height, yielding a dozen or more peppers each growing season.

Substitutes For Byadgi Chiles

If you can’t get your hands on byadgi chillis or are looking for something a little different, there are several other peppers to use as a substitute. 

If you’re looking for something less spicy, I recommend using hot paprika, which usually will be between 200-500 SHUs on the Scoville scale. Hot paprika will still give your dish a similar flavor profile as the byadgi with only a fraction of the heat!

Another excellent ground pepper option that still offers a lot of heat is gochugaru, a Korean chili powder. Known for its smoky, sweet flavors with a pop of heat, gochugaru is a fantastic way to add flavor to popular Asian dishes.


Leland has spent most of his life in both the garden and the kitchen. A veggie garden is a place of harmony between his love of cooking and working with plants. Naturally, he loves peppers and plants about a dozen new and interesting varieties every year. His current pepper project is preparing to overwinter a jalapeño plant which he hopes will continue to flourish until the next flowering season. Leland is always excited to learn about new spicy and flavorful chilis, and he is constantly looking for new recipes to put his new peppers to the test!

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