Turning Up The Heat With Bhut Jolokia Hot Sauce

by Casandra Newton

If you want to see a grown man cry, you will be happy to know that there is a much easier way than to kick him in the you-know-where. You only need to give him some bhut jolokia hot sauce. This is a condiment that is definitely only for the bravest of the brave.

Bhut jolokia is one of the names for the ghost chili pepper, the sauce's main ingredient. Other names include naga bhut jolokia or simply naga jolokia. In Assam, where this pepper originated, people have been enjoying it for many generations. It is used as a spice, but also as a remedy for stomach complaints. It even helps them to beat the heat in this north-eastern state of India.

In 2007, the ghost chili was declared the hottest chili in the world by Guinness World Records. The people at Guinness World Records based this on the results of research at New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute. These research results showed that the chili packs about 400 times more heat than Tabasco sauce.

This humble little pepper packs heat of more than 1 000 000 units on the Scoville scale. This firmly kicked the previous record holder, the red savina habanero pepper with its mere 100 000 to 300 000 Scoville heat units, into second place. With a Scoville rating of only 2 500 to 8 000 heat units, the jalapeno is a mere amateur in comparison.

The ghost chili looks quite similar to the habanero when it is ripe. However, its texture is usually more uneven, with deeper grooves. It measures about an inch in width and between 2.4 and 3.3 inches in length. It can be yellow, orange, red or chocolate in color.

There are several companies that make hot sauce from the ghost chili. Many of these sauces contain habaneros and other chilies for extra kick. Other common ingredients include garlic, onions, lemon or lime juice, salt, spices and a base of vinegar.

If you have some ghost chilies on hand, though, you can make a sauce yourself. Many recipes include carrots since these root vegetables apparently help to bring down the heat factor just a little bit. An online search and some experimentation will help you find the perfect recipe.

It is a good idea though to take some precautions when you work with these peppers. To protect your skin, wear rubber or latex gloves. If your skin comes into contact with the capsaicin that abounds in ghost chilies, it will burn, as will everything that you touch afterwards. To ease you can scrub your skin to remove the capsaicin from your pores or rub alcohol onto the affected area. This may be a good excuse to keep the vodka handy. The fumes that are released when you cut or cook the peppers can burn your eyes and nostrils too, so you might want to wear a mask or a cloth over your face.

When you serve bhut jolokia hot sauce, your guests will be extremely grateful if you also serve lassi, yogurt or other milky foods that will help cool the burning sensation, which otherwise may last for around thirty minutes. Taking all these precautions may sound over the top, but farmers in India's north-east sometimes use the peppers to drive back wild elephants. Even the Indian Army is starting to enlist the help of this pepper. In tear-gas grenades it is an effective way of driving the baddies out of their hiding places.

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