Red HOT chillies spark chemical alert
A chemical attack alert on a busy shopping street was sparked by a pan of burning chilli peppers, it has emerged.
Police closed off three roads and evacuated homes in central London as a cloud of noxious smoke filled the air.
But the source turned out to be some fiery food left cooking on a restaurant stove.
Firefighters wearing protective breathing apparatus were called to D'Arblay Street in Soho as members of the public were shepherded away.
The specialist crews then broke down the door of the Thai Cottage restaurant - and emerged with a 9lb pot of chillies.
Staff at the restaurant said they were surprised by the reaction of the emergency services.
Chef Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon said: "I was making a spicy dip with extra-hot chillies that are deliberately burnt. To us it smells like burnt chilli and it is slightly unusual."I was making a spicy dip with extra-hot chillies that are deliberately burnt" - said Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon
"I can understand why people who weren't Thai would not know what it was. But it doesn't smell like chemicals. I'm a bit confused."
He was preparing Nam Prik Pao, (Recipe Below....mag ) a red-hot Thai dip served with prawn crackers.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The street was closed off for three hours while we were trying to discover the source of the odour."© Independent Television News Limited 2007. All rights reserved
Nam Prik Pao (Thai Red Chilli Paste) Recipe
- 4 tablespoons of Peanut Oil
- 6 - 8 cloves of Garlic
- 6 Asian Shallots
- 6 - 8 medium fresh Thai Red Chillies
- 1 tablespoon fermented Shrimp Paste
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 2 teaspoons of Brown Sugar
Peel the garlic cloves and shallots and chop and crush them finely. Slice the chillies finely. Heat a frypan heat and add one tablespoon of the oil, add the minced garlic and shallots and fry briefly. Remove from the heat and scrape them into a bowland set aside. In another tablespoon of the oil, add the chillies to the pan and fry until they just start to change colour, then remove them and set aside.
With a mortar and pestle pound the shrimp paste, add the chillies, garlic and shallots, blending each in before adding the next. Then over a low heat, return all the ingredients to the pan with the remaining oil, and fold until the mixture resembles a thick oily red/black paste, uniform in colour and texture.
This paste keeps almost indefinitely and is used to add a depth of taste to many Thai dishes, curries and soups.