Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ghost Chili

Remember the bully in elementary school? Remember when a new kid showed up at school and kicked his ass? Such is the relationship between the former heavyweight champion, the habanero pepper and the ghost chili. Weighing in at a meager 100,000–350,000 units on the Scoville scale, the habanero was long thought to be the world's hottest pepper. The Red Savina habanero, a human bred strain, held the Guiness Book of World Records title for hottest pepper for over a decade. At 350,000-580,000 Scoville units, the Red Savina is one hot pepper. But then, in 2007, the ghost chili knocked it off it's pedestal. The ghost chili (whose real name is Bhut Jolokia) comes from the Assam region of India and ranks at 850,000 - 1,050,000 Scoville units. The only things hotter are pure capsaicin, straight synthetic capsaicin, and police grade pepper spray.

I found this bottle of ghost chili powder at the Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company in Tumacacori, AZ. I've been a lover of the habanero for years, so I thought "Why not try the next step up?" Let me tell you, this stuff is hot. When my brother tried a bit, he said, "It doesn't taste like anything, it just feels like pain." You only need a tiny, tiny amount to make anything really fiery. I will say, it certainly has a place in my kitchen. A mere 8th teaspoon is enough to make an entire batch of tofu scramble super hot and I've found that, in small doses, it also adds a bit of smokiness. I can't wait to make red bean chili. Oh boy...


erin said...

This scares my ghosty WASP palate. I'm just now used to sriracha.

Eric said...

This should scare you. It's terrifying. It's still somewhere closer to "novelty" than "legit culinary item" for me.