Skip to comments.How not to eat the world's hottest chili (bhut jolokias aka the "ghost chili")
Posted on 07/31/2007 12:19:41 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
NEW DELHI - I know people who regularly eat bhut jolokias the "ghost chili" now rated as the world's hottest pepper. They're nice people. I like them. They don't seem crazy.
Appearances are deceiving.
I ate an entire bhut jolokia the other night, sitting at my dining room table with an open beer and on the advice of the experienced a bowl of yogurt and a few slices of bread at the ready.
I had the strange fear that nothing would happen, that I had traveled halfway across India in search of a chili that would be no hotter than an apple. I thought I was prepared.
What followed was a gastronomic mugging.
I know, I know. You probably think I'm exaggerating, or maybe just inexperienced in the ways of chilis.
"I like hot peppers," you're saying to yourself, thinking of those times you were probably in college, maybe your early 20s when you'd had too much to drink and challenged a friend to a chili-pepper-eating contest. You slopped down one jalapeno after another, enjoying the way it battered your system.
I used to think like that too. But that was before my encounter the other night, when I took the first nibble from the end of a red vegetable barely two inches long and weighing little more than a sheet of paper.
"Not too bad," I said aloud to the empty room. My ignorance lasted about three seconds.
It was hot. Hotter than anything I'd ever eaten. My tongue burned, I began to cough.
I knew I'd have to eat quickly, or I wouldn't be able to finish it. So I took another bite, and chewed. Then another. I ate down to the stem. I swallowed.
It's not how bhut jolokias are normally eaten most locals use them in sauces, or chew off tiny pieces between bites of their main course but I figured I should get the full experience (Plus, let me add, one of my editors suggested this exercise in masochism: Thank you, Ken).
The full experience?
It was awful. My eyes watered uncontrollably and my nose ran. I felt like I was gargling with acid. My hands quivered. As the minutes passed, the pain grew worse.
I shoveled in yogurt: No relief. I chewed bread: Nothing. My head felt like it was expanding. My ears felt as if hot liquid was draining from them. Picture one of those old Tom and Jerry cartoons, with steam blasting from Tom's ears as a train whistle blows. That was me.
The experts say beer and water do no good at such times. Maybe that's true, but gulps of very cold beer were the only things that helped me washing away the pain for a few blessed seconds.
Twenty minutes later, I had recovered enough to speak clearly. So I called my wife in New York, where she is on vacation with our children. She laughed at me.
A day later, my tongue felt as if it had been scrubbed with a wire brush.
And a day after that, a friend made me a lunch flavored with bhut jolokias.
It was a traditional meal from Nagaland, the northeastern state along the Myanmar border where my friend was born, and where super-hot chilis are a part of life. There was diced chicken and hunks of pork and a cold stew of fermented tofu beans, all spiced with the chilis.
The food was simple, delicious. It was mild by the standards of Nagaland, just one bhut jolokia or so for each dish. I loved it.
I just hope she couldn't see that my eyes were again watering.
A farmer stands in his field of 'Bhut jolokia,' or 'ghost chili' peppers at Changpool in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Wednesday, July 4, 2007. Bhut jolokia, a thumb-sized chili pepper with frightening potency, was recently rated the spiciest chili in the world by Guinness World Records. It is widely eaten as a spice, a cure for stomach troubles and, seemingly paradoxically, a way to fight the crippling summer heat too. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Farmer Digonta Saikia shows a 'Bhut jolokia' or 'ghost chili' pepper plucked from his field in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Wednesday, July 4, 2007. Bhut jolokia, a thumb-sized chili pepper with frightening potency, was recently rated the spiciest chili in the world by Guinness World Records. It is widely eaten as a spice, a cure for stomach troubles and, seemingly paradoxically, a way to fight the crippling summer heat too. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
How many scoville units?
Googled... over 1,000,000
Habanero about 20,000
I’ll pass, thanks.
In February 2007 the Red Savina chili was displaced in Guinness World Records as the hottest chili in the world by the Naga Jolokia pepper. From 1994 until 2006, the previous world record holder was the Red Savina.
It’s way up there, it seems..
No way I’d lick one much less eat it.
almost like pepper spray..
Apparently I’m just a big wimp.
But at least we sleep at night. (which I don’t do too well after eating really hot stuff)
I’ll stick to red and green chile.
Any hot chili thread requires the following joke.....
Notes from an Inexperienced Chili Taster Named FRANK:
“Recently I was honored to be selected as an Outstanding Famous Celebrity in Texas, to be a judge at a chili cook-off because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy. And besides, they told me, I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted this as being one of those burdens you endure when you’re an internet writer and therefore known and adored by all. Here are the scorecards from the event:
Chili #1: Mike’s Maniac Mobster Monster Chili
JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.
JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
FRANK: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that’s the worst one. These people are crazy.
Chili #2: Arthur’s Afterburner Chili
JUDGE ONE: Smoky (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor; needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
FRANK: Keep this out of the reach of children! I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer line. The barmaid looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night. She was so irritated over my gagging sounds that the snake tattoo under her eye started to twitch. She has arms like Popeye and a face like Winston Churchill. I will NOT pick a fight with her.
Chili #3: Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.
JUDGE TWO: A bean less chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.
FRANK: This has got to be a joke. Call the EPA, I’ve located a @%##!! Uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been sneezing Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. She said her friends call her “Sally.” (Behind her back they probably call her “Mac Truck.”)
Chili #4: Bubba’s Black Magic
JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods; not much of a chili.
FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue but was unable to taste it. Sally was standing behind me with fresh refills so I wouldn’t have to dash over to see her. When she winked at me, her snake sort of coiled and uncoiled. It’s kinda cute.
Chili #5: Linda’s Legal Lip Remover
JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
FRANK: My ears are ringing, and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. Sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
Chili #6: Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety
JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.
JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. I asked if she wants to go dancing later.
Chili #7: Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili
JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3; he appears to be in a bit of distress.
FRANK: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel it. I’ve lost the sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Good, at autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing; it’s too painful and I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just let it in through the hole in my stomach. Call the X-Files people and tell them I’ve found a super nova on my tongue.
Chili #8: Helen’s Mount Saint Chili
JUDGE ONE: This final entry is a good, balanced chili; neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself.
JUDGE TWO: A perfect ending. This is a nice blend of chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
FRANK: I see a white light before me.. Momma? Is that you?
**Freeper Kitchen Ping**
She decided that if I could do it, they must not be so hot. She popped one in her mouth and immediately turned fire engine red and began sweating profusely. The people sitting around her called for the waitress to bring her milk and for a while thought about calling the paramedics.
After 15 minutes, when she could speak again, the first words out of her mouth were, "I hate you, you SOB." I just smiled and popped another pepper in my mouth.
Which became the inspiration of half of the 'lyrics' (a.k.a. mindless scraming)in today's heavy metal tunes.
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