Do you love to gorge on spicy food? Are you sure that your taste buds can survive even the optimal level of heat? Unfortunately, certain spices 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 an interspecific hybrid of two peppers (Capsicum Chinense and Capsicum Frutescens) 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.
The ghost pepper is widely found and 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 think 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:
- Enhances digestive health
- Speeds up metabolism
- Promotes weight loss
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Keeps heart healthy
- Reduces sinusitis symptoms
- Unclogs the nasal passage
- It makes the mood better
How To Use Ghost Pepper In Your Recipes?
The ghost pepper is undoubtedly 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
- 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
- Freshwater – 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 freshwater before 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. Please turn it on and blend all the ingredients nicely. Sprinkle the mixture with salt and keep inside the refrigerator for serving chilled salsa verde.
2. Ghost Pepper Fire Salsa
- 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 uses dried and stemmed ghost peppers. At first, re-hydrate them by soaking them in water and bringing them to a boil. After 15 to 20 minutes, take the peppers out of the heat and keep them aside for cooling.
2. Both fresh and canned tomatoes can be used for this salsa. First, however, cut them into small cubes and set them 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 – 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 aluminum foil.
3. Place the dish in a pre-heated oven (225 degrees F) and allow it to bake for a minimum of 3 hours. After that, take it out of the oven and pour it into an air-tight bottle. It can be stored in the fridge for as long as one month.
Things To Remember While Using Ghost Pepper
Now, here is an essential part of the article. Whether you are using fresh, dried, or powdered ghost pepper, it would help if you kept 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 powerful chili to act as a weapon. Never forget it throughout the process.
- It is wise to wear protective gear (kitchen mask, kitchen goggles, etc.) 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 most excellent 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 minimal amount of 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?
The Indian Government has long used Ghost Pepper 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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