Popularly known as Bhut Jolokia (bhut=ghost+jolokia=capsicum) in Assamese , this ghost pepper has been rated the world’s hottest pepper by Guinness Book of World Records ’07.
Completely unknown to the world even a decade ago this chili is in recent time a celebrity in the world of spices. Its popularity can be attributed to its dangerous pungency which is not only unique but has succeeded to beat the former popular Latin American peppers. A native of the north-east Indian soil especially, Assam and Nagaland the pepper loses its pungency when grown outside the particular climate.
With an off the chart Scoville rating India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation made successful use of the pepper to make hand grenades which the Indian Army used to flush out a terrorist in 2015 who was hiding in a cave. Bhut Jolokia is commonly used in the local household as a spice specially to beat the summer heat. The locals believe that the capsaicin in the chilly helps in digestion. Used both in fresh and dried form it not only heats up curries but also adds distinct flavor to them.
A hybrid of Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens with a long entailing etymological references this unique pepper is rapidly making its place in the world market. With its rising popularity and demand the people of the north-east India can hope for economic gain from its cultivation and production of condiments out of it.
I learned the art of making Bhut Jolokia pickle from a local lady on my visit to Assam and I would love to share it with my readers. The secret as to why this chili is called ghost pepper aka bhut jolokia or bih jolokia (poison capsicum) lies in tasting it.
BHUT JOLOKIA / U MOROK ACHAR
- Bhut jolokia
- Mustard paste
- Dry Ginger powder
- Mustard oil
- Fenugreek/methi seeds powder
- Fennel seeds/sauf powder
- Lemon juice
- A pair of kitchen gloves
- Put on kitchen gloves.
- Wash and dry bhut jolokia. Add salt and turmeric powder and allow it to sun dry for 2 to 3 days.
- Take the dried bhut jolokia and cut deep gashes on it.
- In a container take all the above ingredients and mix well.
- Store in a clean and dry jar and cover the mouth with malmal cloth. Keep it under the sun for 4 to 5 days.
- Serve as a condiment with fish,meat,rice or plain flat bread. Tastes best with Assam special Bamboo Rice.