Only about 1 to 1½ inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter, this diminutive chile packs a fiery punch that doesn't dissipate with cooking. The thin-fleshed Thai chile ranges in color from green to red when fully ripe. It's a popular addition in many Southeast Asian dishes. The bird chile is the dried form. It's so named because drying causes the chile to hook into a bird's-beak shape.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.