To Naga, or not to Naga

To Naga, or not to Naga

Andrew’s Essential Fiery naga-02 that a Pyro-Gourmaniac needs to Know

Part 22

To Naga, or not to Naga

The Question was raised at few years ago, To Naga, or not to Naga, I wrestled with this for a while, Tried one then wish I hadn’t just bitten into it …small slivers in raw food is great, and bloody hot, finely chopped or like the Trinidadians do with their Chillies, thrown in whole when cooking then remove before eating is the go if cooking, this is what I recommend. Anyway, here is it is, I will let you decide for yourselves……


Naga Jolokia Chilli

Also known as Bih Jolokia, U-morok, Ghost pepper, Ghost Chilli, or Red Naga chilli, the Bhut Jolokia is cultivated in the Nagaland and Assam region of north eastern India and parts of neighbouring Bangladesh. Bhut Jolokia belongs to the Capsicum chinense family, like the Habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Red Savina.

The word Bhut, given from the Bhutias people, means “ghost” and was probably given the name because of the way the heat sneaks up on the one who eats it.

The Bhut Jolokia has been around for many centuries, but was only introduced to the western world in 2000.

In 2007 The Ghost Pepper was certified as the hottest Chilli on the planet in The Guinness Book of World Records.

It is a unique Chilli, specific to the culture and soil of where it grows. It is an example of how the Chilli can be uniquely shaped and adapted by each culture that accepts it, partly by the soil, but, more importantly, by the hands of those planting its seeds and harvesting its fruit. It is, in essence, an ideal migrant, assimilating, adapting seamlessly into the culture until it is mistaken as being purely native.

Use the Bhut Jolokia as you’d use a Habanero, but remember that they are much hotter, up to 5 times the heat level. Use caution when cooking with them. Wear gloves and protect your eyes.

This Chilli is also used in Indian cooking. In addition to being a common household ingredient in certain parts of India and Bangledesh, it has also been used as a homeopathic remedy for stomach pain, a way to beat the summer heat (when the Bhut Jolokia is eaten, the partaker will usually start to sweat quite a bit, which will ultimately lead to a decrease in body temperature). The Bhut Jolokia has even been used as a weapon , locals of north eastern India smear their fences with it to keep elephants away, and the Chilli has even been used in smoke bombs. It’s so spicy that defence research department of India plans to use it as a potent weapon against enemies.

Ripe Chillies measure 6 to 9 cm long with a red, yellow, orange, white, purple or chocolate colour.

The first flavour you will notice is an intense sweet Chilli flavour, the heat does not kick in for 30 – 45 seconds. Once the heat kicks in, expect sweating, watery eyes, hiccups and shortness of breath. The burning generally intensifies over 10 – 15 minutes and decreases after 30 – 40 minutes.

It’s the spiciest Chilli among non-hybrid Chillies. A single Naga jolokia can be used to spice up a preparation of at least 200 people. Naga Jolokia’s rank on the Scoville scale is 1,041,427.


Naga Viper

The Naga Viper Pepper is a monster, the unholy offspring of three of the world’s hottest peppers, the Naga Morich Pepper, the Trinidad Scorpion Chilli, and the Bhut Jolokia, also known as the Ghost Chilli, it is of the Capsicum Chinense varities. Rated at 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units, the Naga Viper was for a short time in 2011 ranked the hottest pepper in the world, The Naga Viper held its lofty status for several months, superseded by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1.46 million Scovilles) 270 times hotter than a Jalapeno .

This Chilli is slightly dark in colour from its closest competitor Naga Jolokia.

The Naga Viper ,Naga mean “Cobra Snake” in native Sanskrit. It is the brain child of Gerald Fowler, a pub owner , Chilli farmer from Cumbria, England, who also runs the Chilli Pepper Company, selling hot sauces, Chilli seeds, and Chilli powder.

The Naga Viper Chilli is a little deceiving by the smell with a sweet, fruity, and almost tangy smell. Aside from the extreme heat, they have a very sweet fruity taste. The heat will slowly build as the fruitiness subsides and you’ll be left feeling like you’re melting. It’s so hot that it can strip paint. And weapons experts are even considering using the Chilli in a “spice bomb” to incapacitate enemy soldiers, the UK Daily Mail reported in 2011.

It’s good for you, like all Chillies, the Naga Viper is loaded with Vitamin C, but to get the full effect, health effects, you will have to be brave enough to eat one of these things raw, because Vitamin C breaks down during cooking.

It numbs your tongue, then burns all the way down, it can last an hour, and you just don’t want to talk to anyone or do anything.

Due to its hybrid nature, it is unable to produce offspring exactly like the parent due to segregation of alleles, and therefore traits..


Naga Morich ( the Dorset Naga)

The Naga Morich also know as the serpent chilli comes from the country of Bangladesh south of Noth east India. It is interesting to note that the provinces in Northeast India where the Bhut grows are the neighbour to Bangladesh. the Naga Morich and the ghost Chilli (Bhut Jolokia) are close cousins and very similar in overall heat. The climate and environment are the same.

With a venomous bite even more intense than its cousin the ghost pepper, the Naga Morich ,also known as the serpent Chilli and the Dorset Naga sits in rarefied air on the pepper scale. Calling it “fiery” would simply be an understatement as only a handful of Chillies surpass it. Like with other super-hot Chillies, don’t handle these chillies raw without taking safety precautions, and if you dare to eat it, be ready for some crucial pain.

But the Naga Morich beats it out. With a range from 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 Scoville heat units, only the hottest ghost Chillies can compare to the mildest Naga Morich. Really the Naga Morich is more in line with the heat of the Infinity Chilli (1,067,286 to 1,250,000 SHU) and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (1,200,000 to 2,000,000 SHU).

Let’s compare it instead to a chilli most know , the Jalapeno. Compared to this popular medium heat Chilli, the Naga Morich is at least 125 hotter, with the potential for a throat-scorching 600 times hotter if you compare the mildest possible Jalapeno to the hottest possible Naga Morich. Few Chillies are hotter, only the likes of the Scorpion and the soul-eating Carolina Reaper.

Like many varieties of the Chinense species, the Naga Chilli is a small to medium shrub with large leaves, small, five-petaled flowers, and blisteringly hot fruit. It differs to the Bhut Jolokia and Bih Jolokia in that the pods are slightly smaller with a pimply ribbed texture as opposed to the smoother flesh of the other two varieties. It looks a lot like a ghost chilli. They are a bit more pocked than a Bhut Jolokia and there are subtle ribs along the skin, but otherwise they are very close in appearance. They grow to around 6 cm in length, with a slim profile that thins to a point. They age from green to yellow and finally red.

The Naga Morich, like the ghost chilli – is a slower burn. It takes 30 seconds for your body to start feeling the true heat. Until then, the Chillies flavour is front and centre. It’s sweet, like the ghost chilli, but slightly more fruity (almost floral) and a little less earthy. These flavours make the serpent chilli perfect for brave individuals who want to bring a new heat level to their grilling, smoking, and barbecuing. It makes one mean hot sauce or barbecue marinade, tastily fruity to start and wickedly demonic for minutes after. Traditionally the Bangladeshi people will impart the heat of the serpent chili into their culinary dishes by cutting open one of the immature, green Chillies and rubbing it on to the foods they are preparing. This gives their recipes a much more subtle dose of the serpent Chilli. The less mature, green chillies are thought to have a much tarter, fresh taste than the sweeter, more mature red Chillies.


Growing Naga Chillies

Sow Chilli Pepper seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed sowing mix and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite.

Place seed trays in a propagator at a temperature of 18-25C until after germination, which takes 7-10 days. Do not exclude light as this helps germination.

When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into individual 7. pots of compost and grow on in cooler conditions.

When plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, transplant them in well prepared beds of fertile, moist, well drained soil. Chillies may be grown undercover in a greenhouse or polytunnel, or grown outdoors in a sheltered position in full sun. When growing chillies outdoors, gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days prior to transplanting them. Space Chilli plants at a distance of 50cm apart.

Water chilli plants regularly throughout the growing season and feed weekly with a high potash tomato fertiliser once the first fruits have set.

Taller varieties of chillies may require staking. Provide a thick mulch of organic matter around the base of the plants to help conserve moisture and reduce weed growth.

In greenhouses, maintain high humidity by damping down paths daily. Harvest chillies singly by cutting them from the plant with secateurs or pull the entire plant when full of red Chillies, and hang upside down in the kitchen for use all year round.

Chillies grown outdoors must be harvested before the first frosts.




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