One of the fieriest peppers in the world, Bhut Jolokia isn’t for faint hearted.
With nearly 1 million Scoville Heat Units, the ghost pepper, also known as the Bhut Jolokia, is one of the hottest peppers in the world. The second-hottest one, the Mexican Red Savina, is only half as hot as it. Bhut Jolokia has three times cayenne's heat and is twice as hot as Habanero pepper. Time and again, it had made global headlines when people tried to hog the limelight under its prowess. The name says it all. One needs the courage to let it touch the tongue.
It's trending now, and this time as Monk's Secret. It is the newest creation from Bombay Brasserie. Their latest concoction has a dash of Bhut Jolokia, a touch of coconut, and a bit of guava juice blended into the heady Old Monk-inspired drink as additives. The chilli makes the cocktail much more pairable by perfectly cutting through the fruity aromas.
So, you can do your dare by trying Ghost Pepper as this beverage. But, mind you, the chronicles of braving this spice don't have many encouraging episodes.
In October 2016, a 47-year-old man decided it would be fun to enter a contest. The challenge was to eat a hamburger packed with this eerily fiery Bhut Jolokia. Could he succeed? No! He was left with excruciating chest agony, stomach ache, and uncontrollable vomiting. Not only that, his oesophagus suffered a 2-and-a-half-centimetre burn. Yes, that is Bhut Jolokia's force. His dare led to emergency surgery and spending over a month in the hospital.
Well, despite its fair share of warnings, many people take the challenge to underestimate this tiny bomb.
Bhut Jolokia, Image Credit: Unsplash
Origin and subsequent introduction
It is grown in northeastern Indian regions like Nagaland and Assam. The neighbouring country, Bangladesh, also cultivates it. It is referred to by various names across the diverse Indian areas, such as Bih Jolokia, Nagahari, Raja Mircha, Raja chilli, and Borbih Jolokiai. Sri Lanka also grows it and call it cobra chilli.
Although the Bhut Jolokia has been around for many years, the western world came across it around in the year 2000. The Guinness Book of World Records recognised The Ghost Pepper as the world's spiciest chilli pepper in 2007. But the bragging rights didn't stay reserved for too long. The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper and Carolina Reaper outperformed the ghost chilli in the contest to produce the spiciest chilli pepper in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
Ghost peppers, Image Credit: Wikimedia
A deadly effect
The ripe pepper measures up to 2.5 to 3.3 inches in length. They commonly come in shades of red, yellow, orange, white, purple, or chocolate. You will detect a strong sweet chilli flavour when it first comes in contact with your tongue. The initial 30 to 45 seconds, you will not experience any heat. When it begins to kick in, anticipate experiencing shortness of breath, hiccups, perspiration, and watery eyes. Usually, the burning gets worse by 10 to 15 minutes. After half an hour, it comes under control. Their fruitiness appeals to many people. Unlike scorpion peppers, these peppers don't sting you with heat.
Ghost peppers are excellent for hot sauces due to their extreme spiciness and fruity taste. Some of them are dried and made into powders or chilli flakes. Larger dinners like pots of stew can be easily prepared, including them. Use it sparingly. As you would handle habanero, employ ghost pepper akin to that. But remember that they are considerably hotter—up to five times as hot than habanero. When cooking with them, exercise caution. Put on gloves, and shield your eyes.