Bhut Jolokia – or more famously known by the intimidating name of Ghost Chlii or Ghost Pepper. Cultivated in Arunachal Pradesh and nearby states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur and parts of Bangladesh.
It was once the hottest chili in the world, being the first pepper to be tested with over 1 million scovilles. Bhut Jolokia was rated at 1,041,427 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). However it was since succeeded by many others with Carolina Reaper being the current record holder at 2,200,200 SHU. To put it in perspective Tobasco sauce is at 2,500 – 5,000 SHU and Nando’s Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce is at 35,000 SHU.
Capsaicin, the components which gives chili the ‘hotness’ are found throughout Bhut Jolokia, not just within placenta and seeds, unlike the common chili. A touch with your bare hands is enough to give you a sensation.
On our way to Ranaghat, East Siang. We stumbled upon some Mishmi villagers probably selling her excess crops by the mountain road side. One of the lady have some Bhut Jolokia to offer and I get a handful for only 10 Indian Rupee.
Food Tasting – My first test is on the skin of the fruit. a few brush on the surface with a piece of chicken was enough to add some spiciness. And with a small bite, within seconds I can feel a stingy bite on the tip of my tongue and feeling of swelling around that follows. Which can last throughout the meal time. Non spice eater will have a more devastating experience. Among the latter who dare to try, add choking, coughing and watery eyes to the experience.
Sadly, it doesn’t taste as good as its reputation. With a slightly strange chemical after taste and sore lips sensation. It felt like you are having your meal in a science laboratory right after a failed chemistry experiment. It killed all the taste and aroma of the other plates on the table. Not for a good dinning experience and not if you want to add spice to your bland dish.
Maybe it will be a taste acquire. Until then it is just my ‘been there, done that’ bragging rights, and right at the origin of the fruit.
I will stick to our Sambal Belachan for now…
- Mishmi people are one of the ethnic tribe that inhabited in Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet. The earliest Idu Mishmi migrated to this region from Burma.
Here is a short video of the buying process and for those who have interest in the sound of language.