Fear The Heat: ‘Ghost Pepper’ (Bhut Jolokia) And Everything You Should Know About It


Do you love to gorge on spicy food? Are you sure that your taste buds can survive even the optimal level of heat? Unfortunately, there are certain spices that can shake your confidence badly and ‘Ghost Pepper’ is the most widely known among them. Surprised by the name? Let us tell you how ghost pepper can prevent you from winning the ‘heat challenge’ and how you should include it in your recipes.


What Is Ghost Pepper?

‘Ghost Pepper’ is one of the most infamous peppers you can ever avail around. It is basically an interspecific hybrid of two peppers (Capsicum Chinense and Capsicum Frutescens) and is closely related to Bangladeshi ‘Naga Morich’. According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2007), this is the ‘hottest chili pepper in the world’. It is nearly 417 times hotter than the jalapeno pepper.

Ghost pepper is widely found as well as cultivated in North-Indian states like Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland. For the extreme nature, it is also known as ‘Bhut Jolokia’, ‘Ghost Chili’, ‘Bih Jolokia’, ‘Red Naga’, ‘U-Morok’, ‘Naga Jolokia’, ‘Ghost Jolokia’, and so on. You can use this fiery chili in your pickles, sauces, and curries in both fresh and dried forms.

The super hot pepper got its spooky yet cool name from the Indian word ‘Bhut’, which means ‘a malevolent spirit’. It is indeed an apt name for the ingredient.


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Health Benefits Of Ghost Pepper

If you are thinking that bhut jolokia is all about heat and burn, let us tell you that the fiery pepper comes with a host of health benefits too. Here is why it is good for you:

  1.  Enhances digestive health
  2. Speeds up metabolism
  3. Promotes weight loss
  4. Stimulates blood circulation
  5. Lowers blood pressure
  6. Keeps heart healthy
  7. Reduces sinusitis symptoms
  8. Unclogs the nasal passage
  9. Makes the mood better

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How To Use Ghost Pepper In Your Recipes?

Ghost pepper is certainly not a very common spice used in cooking. But if you are game for tasting the fierceness of this unique chili, we have got you covered. Here are a few ways to include ghost pepper in your recipes:

1. Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde With Ghost Pepper

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:

  • Tomatillos – 500 gm
  • Ghost pepper – 2
  • White onion – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh cilantro leaves – 1 cup
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh lime juice – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Fresh water – 2 cups

Method of Preparation:

1. Firstly, discard the paper-like shells of the tomatillos and wash them under running water. Cut them into two halves. Take a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place the tomatillo pieces on them with cut-sides down. Now, place the sheet under a broiler and wait for 5 to 6 minutes so that the skin of the tomatillos turns black.

2. You have to take 2 dried ghost peppers (having no stalk) for this dish. But re-hydrate them by soaking in a cup of fresh water prior to processing. You can also do this by boiling the peppers and allowing them to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes after that. Meanwhile, chop the white onion and fresh cilantro leaves finely and keep them aside.

3. Now, put the blackened tomatillos, re-hydrated ghost pepper, chopped white onions, chopped cilantro leaves, fresh lime juice, sugar, olive oil and 1 cup of fresh water in an electric blender. Turn it on and blend all the ingredients nicely. Sprinkle the mixture with salt and keep inside the refrigerator for serving chilled salsa verde.

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2. Ghost Pepper Fire Salsa

Ghost Pepper Fire Salsa

Ingredients:

  • Ghost pepper – 1
  • Tomato – 250 gm
  • White vinegar – (1/2) tablespoon
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Sea salt – (1/4) teaspoon
  • Water – (1/4) cup

Method of Preparation:

1. It is the Indian version of ghost pepper salsa, which also makes use of dried and stemmed ghost peppers. At first, re-hydrate them by soaking in water and bringing to a boil. After 15 to 20 minutes, take the peppers out of the heat and keep aside for cooling.

2. Both fresh and canned tomatoes can be used for this salsa. However, cut them into small cubes and set aside.

3. Now, put the re-hydrated ghost peppers, garlic clove, white vinegar, and water in a blender and make a smooth, even paste. Add the tomato cubes and their juice to this mixture. Mix them well and your salsa is ready.

3. Ghost Pepper Oil

Ghost Pepper Oil

Ingredients:

  • Ghost pepper – 2
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – 1(1/2) cups
  • Canola oil – 1 cup

Method of Preparation:

1. Choose dried ghost peppers with no stem and cut them into halves along the length. Take a microwave-proof dish and arrange the pepper pieces on it neatly.

2. Add canola oil and extra virgin olive oil to the pepper pieces one by one and cover the entire dish carefully with an aluminum foil.

3. Place the dish in a pre-heated oven (225 degree F) and allow it to bake for minimum 3 hours. After that, take it out of the oven and pour into an air-tight bottle. It can be stored in the fridge for as long as one month.

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Things To Remember While Using Ghost Pepper

Now, here is the most important part of the article. No matter whether you are using fresh, dried, or powdered ghost pepper, you need to keep a few must-follow rules in mind. This is indispensable for maintaining the spiciness of your food at an edible level and protecting yourself from unexpected consequences.

  • You are handling a chili that is powerful enough to act as a weapon. Never ever forget it throughout the process.
  • It is a wise idea to wear protective gear (kitchen mask, kitchen goggles, etc.) in order to avoid eye irritation and extreme chili burn.
  • Learn how to get relief from chili burn even before you start. It turns out that milk is the greatest remedy while water makes things worse only.
  • Stick to simple recipes, such as infused oils, hot sauces, salsas, etc. until you understand the flavor and potency of the pepper completely.
  • A very little amount of the pepper is enough to give your dish all the heat it needs. So, start with less and do not ever go overboard.
  • The notoriously slow burn of the pepper will build up over time, thereby making your salsas or sauces extremely hot. So, be careful!

Did You Know?

Ghost Pepper has long been used by the Indian Government for making military grade grenades, smoke bombs and pepper spray. They create chili burning experience, which helps in immobilizing criminal suspects safely. 

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Nilankeeta

A digital media professional, an ardent beauty lover and a passionate foodie - this is what describes Nilankeeta in a nutshell. She is in a serious relationship with music and can't think of a life without family, friends, and online shopping.

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