Bhoot Jolokia: A Notorious Pepper

Bhoot Jolokia, the ghost pepper that is the World’s most notorious chilli, is an interspecific hybrid chilli pepper cultivated in the Northeastern part of India. Also known as king chilli, bhoot jolokia is famous for its fiery taste as it measures 1,041,427 SHU on the Scoville heat scale.    

It was awarded the World’s Hottest of All Spices by the Guinness World Records between 2007 and 2011, although Carolina Reaper is currently the hottest pepper in the World.  


Originated in Assam, famous for tea cultivation, bhoot jolokia requires humidity between 65% and 75%. Frontal Agritech, a seed producer, introduced bhoot jolokia. Though seed sales were initially limited due to the high demand of seed traders, it could finally meet the demand after a few years.    

A hybrid of Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens, bhoot jolokia, drives elephants from rural villages. Even though elephants do not harm, at night, they become restless. Therefore, to keep the animals away from food and rice schnapps in the settlements, ropes are made soaked with chilli. When a horde of wild elephants approached, flashlights are lit in which jolokia pods are found.   

Bhoot jolokia means Bhutanese pepper in Assamese. The pepper is also known as bih zolokia in Assam. While bhi means poison, zolokia indicates chilli or pepper, making the literal translation poison pepper.   

Bhoot jolokia is also called Naga jolokia, Nagahari, Raja Mircha, Raja chilli, Borbih jolokia etc.   

These chillies are naturally grown and also eaten in Sri Lanka, other than northeastern India and Bangladesh.   

Although bhoot jolokia is identified differently in different regions, it looks the same. With a length of 2.5 to 3.3 inches, bhoot jolokia is usually available in red, yellow, orange, white, purple, or chocolate.   

Bhoot jolokia is treated as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat.   

As these peppers have dented skin that is thin and easy to tear, the Indian army decided to use bhoot jolokia to make tear-gas like hand grenades to immobilise suspects in 2010.   

With over 1,000,000 Scoville units, bhoot jolokia is 416 times hotter than the mildest jalapeno pepper that averages around 5,000 Scoville heat units on the Scoville scale 208 times hotter than the average jalapeno pepper. The presence of capsaicin makes bhoot jolokia super-hot.   

Bhoot jolokia has an intensely fruity, sweet chilli flavour. On the first bite, it doesn’t kick in for 30 to 45 seconds. Once it kicks in, expect sweating, watery eyes and hiccups. The burning sensation generally intensifies more than 10-15 minutes, and it’s all good after 30 to 40 minutes.   

To reduce some heat, you can remove the pepper innards before cooking. You may consider using them sparingly or consume dairy to tame the heat. 

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