Chillies are integral to most Indian recipes whether in its fresh, dry or ground form. Using the correct amount is key to balancing out the flavours of the rest of the spices that you are using. It is all too easy to over power a beautiful dish with too much heat; Saying this I am also a firm believer that it is all down to personal taste when it comes to this particular spice. There are many varieties available in supermarkets these days and generally they have a ‘heat’ rating to help you decide. As a rule though the smaller the chilli the hotter it is likely to be. Also leaving in the seeds will add more fire so if you want a milder taste discard the seeds (use gloves as it is not pleasant if you get this stuff on your skin, face or eyes!).
My spice box also has dry chilli powder in it. This is used to heat the dish as well as add colour.
For those of you that know me via instagram you will know that I hardly ever use chillies. My girls refuse to eat anything that is hot! So for me chillies are always optional. If you like the heat add, if you don’t then leave out.