Field Notes

Pepper of the Week: Raja Mirchi

#POW

Pepper of the Week

Raja Mirchi/Ghost Pepper

We're used to going bold each #POW, but this week we just went bolder. It's the ghost pepper, Raja Mirchi.

This pepper commands respect from foodies...and their taste buds. Once dubbed the "hottest chili pepper in the world," people keep coming back for more.

Why are they hooked on the ghost? Let's dive a bit deeper in the Raja Mirchi, ghost pepper. 

What is a Raja Mirchi Pepper?

This beautiful pepper means a lot to many cultures. The Raja Mirchi brings a delicate heat to so many Asian delicacies. From curries to chutneys, the Raja Mirchi's spice is slightly offset by the fruit's sweet flavor. That complexity is the charm that keeps the locals hooked on this ghost pepper! 

Raja Mirchi

Image via Down to Earth

The popularity of this chili pepper has earned this fruit many monikers. Therefore, you might see these peppers in specialty produce stores...and might not even realize you're looking at them!

The long list of names for the Raja Mirchi Pepper includes:

🌶 Naga Jolokia (Serpent Chili)

🌶 Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili)

🌶 Bih Jolokia (Poison Chili in Assamese)

🌶 Raja Mirchi (King Pepper in Hindi)

🌶 Pasa Kala (Chief Chili in Mishmi)

With such revered names, you can see this scorcher is well-respected. So, why does the Raja Mirchi command such respect? Let's look a little closer this week's #POW.

Characteristics of a Raja Mirchi Pepper:

🌶 Heat intensity: Hot

🌶 Size: 2 -3 inches 

🌶 Scoville Units: 800,000 to 900,000 SHU

🌶 Flavor Profiles: Subtly Sweet, Grassy Nodes

As you can see, despite the heat, the Raja Mirchi has quite a nuanced flavor. Its subtle sweetness makes for a burn you can long for. 

History of the Raja Mirchi Pepper

This pepper's history is far entwined with Indian culture and cuisine. While natives have long heralded the heat that comes from the ghost pepper, the Raja Mirchi didn't rise to foodie prominence until the early 2000s.

Raja Mirchi Pepper

Image via The Better India

A London, England-based restaurant called the Cinnamon Club carried a dish known as the world's hottest curry. This meal is brandished the Bollywood Burner.

The lamb-based dish contained seven of the deadly hot peppers in its creamy gravy. Those who chose the dish have to sign a waiver before being served!

Since its debut in the mainstream, the heat behind the Raja Mirchi has come to light. In fact, Indian military is tinkering with using this pepper in their weapon arsenal! In the meantime, this aromatic fruit is also used as a deterrent to protect elephants and crops in Asia. 

Raja Mirchi Pepper Recipes

Think you can stand the heat? Then get in the kitchen. There are so many ways to use King Pepper in your everyday life. Here are a few!

King Chili Chutney

Chutney is such a versatile tool in the kitchen. You can use it as a glaze for your meats. However, it's also a great accompaniment to toast in the morning. What's fun about chutney is you can add a little spice to the sweetness. To make it even easier, we just happen to have this recipe courtesy of Roots and Leisure here

King Chili Chutney

Image via Roots and Leisure

Ingredients:

🌶 1 King Chili Pepper (Raja Mirchi)
🌶 1 Large Tomato
🌶 1 Clove of Garlic
🌶 Salt to Taste

Look simple enough? Get the recipe courtesy of Roots and Leisure here. 

Naga Style Pork Raja Mirchi

Perhaps no other meat complements the complexity of Raja Mircho more than pork. It's flavored get lost within the pork's fibers, bringing out more nuances with each bite. Your mouth-watering yet? Then check out the recipe courtesy of First Post here

Pork Chili

Image via First Post

Ingredients:

🌶 1 T Salt
🌶 Pork
🌶 1 Raja Mirchi Pepper
🌶 4 Dried Red Kashmiri Chillies

🌶 8 Cloves Garlic
🌶 1 tsp Salt

To get the complete recipe, check out First Post here.

Celebrate Pepper of the Week

Don't ghost us all week long on the ghost pepper. Follow us on Instagram @TheChiliLab as we celebrate all things Raja Mirchi Pepper.

These recipes get your mind turning? Try making some sauce at home. It's now easier than ever with our Homemade Hot Sauce Kit.