Bhut Jolokia, the Ghost Chilli or 'Naga Chilli' is widely cultivated in the North-eastern states.
Bhut Jolokia had a Guinness Book Record as the Planet's hottest ever chilli from 2007 to 2010.
As per Scoville scale, Bhut Jolokia measures 1,041,427 units. Despite its extreme pungency, Bhut Jolokia has a sweetish, fruity taste too.
The people of Northeast have great affection for Bhut Jolokia chillies, and it is used to make mean curries full of flavours. The ghost pepper is also eaten raw with meals.
Bhut Jolokia consumption even in smaller quantities improves metabolism and can help in weight loss. Capsaicin in Ghost pepper is high and it is known to reduce many health issues.
This Chilli favours temperatures averaging 30°C, which helps retain the chilli’s hotness, as explained by one of the farmers from Ri Bhoi. The first three months of harvest – August to October – yield the hottest chillies. Pungency then reduces as temperatures dip and the length of daylight and its intensity decreases.
The size, texture, and heat level of Bhut Jolokia differs depending on the region it grows. Our Bhut Jolokia chillies are from Ri Bhoi.
These chillies are always plump and smooth, typically as long as an index finger, and are distinguished by its glossy, red colour.
Yes, it is very pungent and only a tiny piece of it can leave your taste buds on fire. The Capsaicin in Bhut Jolokia causes a burning sensation in your mouth.
Although very pungent, Bhut Jolokia has layers of flavour. It has a fruity sweet taste in the layers.
When fresh, it has a fruity aroma.
Benefits and Uses
Hot Chilli Peppers are known to have the following health benefits.
- Helps in losing weight: Hot peppers contain Capsaicin which can speed up metabolism and help the body burn calories faster. This is because Capsaicin increases your body temperature and contributes to an increase in your heart rate. Furthermore, studies have shown that people who eat spicy foods eat smaller portions which can reduce their calories intake.
- Good for the heart: Known to help improve heart health by improving the body’s ability to dissolve blood clots. Research has shown that low-density cholesterol (LDL or bad cholesterol) resisted oxidation for a longer period of time (which can clog your arteries) when chilli was added to the diet, thus reducing the heart stroke risk. The capsaicin in peppers also fights inflammation, which has been identified as a risk factor for heart disease. Additionally, statistics show that cultures that eat spicy foods frequently have a much lower rate of heart attack and stroke.
- Improved circulation: Can promote good circulation, and they appear to lower blood pressure. Your body’s temperature is raised; therefore, it increases your blood flow and gets your heart pumping. Peppers help strengthen the blood vessel walls as they are high in vitamin A and C.
- Anti-cancer: Many studies have shown that regular consumption of chillies decreases the risk of cancer. Capsaicin slows the growth of cancer cells and in some cases, even causes the cancer cells to die off without harming the surrounding cells. In countries where diets are traditionally high in capsaicin like India and Mexico, people tend to have lower rates of some cancers.
- Improved digestion: Spices also improve your digestion because they increase the hydrochloric secretion of your stomach. This, in turn, will increase blood flow to the stomach and even increase the mucous lining. Capsaicin also helps to kill bacteria like H. pylori and help to prevent or cure stomach ulcers.
- Cold and flu: Capsaicin promotes sweating and eases the discomfort of cold and flu symptoms. It also helps to open the nasal passages. It may also reduce sinusitis and other flu symptoms.
- Improved sleep pattern: Researchers have found that people who regularly consumed spicy meals fell asleep more easily. They also woke up easier and had more energy throughout the day.
- Mood lifter: Chili peppers boost the level of endorphins and serotonin that dulls pain and give us a feeling of wellbeing. It can act as a depression fighter and a powerful stress reliever.
- Improves breathing: Hot peppers act as an expectorant, therefore they can help people with asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema (lung condition that causes shortness of breath), sinusitis, and other respiratory conditions. Hot peppers can help you to breathe better by opening clogged nasal passages.
However, it is important to take chillies moderately especially if you have a sensitive stomach or you simply have a low tolerance for them.
How Will You Use Bhut Jolokia?
- Chutneys are a fixture in most households, and spicy ones at that, to convert otherwise bland sauces into virtually a potent dynamite. To flavour up, add Bhut Jolokia to meats or to a variety of vegetables, pickle it, make a paste of it, make chilli flakes of it…the list goes on. In Naga and Manipuri households, Bhut Jolokia is a must with every meal. In Nagaland and in Assam they even have a Bhut Jolokia eating competition every year, during festivals like the Hornbill Festival, where contestants consume raw chillies by the dozen!
Extreme care is required when handling this dynamite of a chilli. Better use kitchen gloves, or handle with knives and forks while cutting and deseeding them. Hands must be thoroughly washed after handling. If the sting gets to the eyes, the burn can stay for hours on end.
Bhut Jolokia in Pain Relief and Defense: Capsaicin is the main ingredient that is commercially extracted in good quantities, to be used in the preparation of capsicum oleoresin for use in muscle relaxant and pain-relieving creams (Volini, Muscodac, Sloan’s Liniment etc). The high concentration of capsaicin in Bhut Jolokia makes it quite a commercially viable raw material for extraction.
Indian research organisations like the Defense Research Laboratory (DRL) and Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) have taken up the development of a highly effective, though non-lethal, use of extracts from Bhut Jolokia. Hand grenades, tear gas, and smoke bombs spiced with capsaicin are used as effective weaponry. The Indian Security Forces are now being provided with Bhut Jolokia grenades to combat, non-lethally, insurgents and terrorists. Reportedly, plans are afoot for civil variants of the grenades for mob-control.
- Self-defence Weapon for Women: Bhut Jolokia sprays can be used by women as a self-protection weapon from would-be molesters! Those who have consumed Bhut Jolokia will know what havoc even a tiny morsel can play to one’s gut throughout. Imagine the sting in the eyes of the enemy, and the mayhem it can create!
- Animal-repelling Bhut Jolokia: Elephant herds often create havoc to farmers by rampaging through their fields. Farmers often smear fences with Bhut Jolokia juice as a way of repelling the wild animals and saving crops from destruction.