The Bhut Jolokia is a chilli pepper that originally comes from the Assam state of India.
It is also commonly found in northeastern India (Nagaland, Manipur), Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
It was late 2006 that the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed that New Mexico State University Regent’s Professor Paul Bosland had discovered the world’s hottest chilli pepper – The Bhut Jolokia.
The Bhut Jolokia at 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), is nearly twice as hot as the Red Savina Habanero, the chilli pepper variety it replaced as the world’s hottest.
A standard New Mexico green chilli contains about 1,500 SHUs and an average Jalapeno measures at about 10,000 SHUs, so we are dealing with some serious heat here
There has been some heated (no pun intended) discussion as to whether its genus is that of a Capsicum frutescens or a Capsicum chinense. Recent DNA tests have found that it is an interspecies hybrid, mostly chinense but with some frutescens genes.
The Bhut Jolokia (meaning Ghostly or Poison) has alot of other names – such as:
Ghost Chilli or Ghost Pepper
Naga Jolokia or Naga Morich or Naga Moresh (in Bangladesh) (Naga meaning cobra snake in Sanskrit – which originates from Nagaland and the Naga Community)
Nai Miris (in Sri Lanka)
Bih Jolokia (in the Indian state of Assam)
Oo-Morok (in Manipur) (Oo meaning Tree, Morok meaning Chilli)
Raja Mirchi (King of Chillies)
Dorset Naga (species grown in the county of Dorset, UK)
Regardless of the name they all refer to the same chilli and plant and are usable interchangeably – so use whatever you prefer!
One thing that you can be sure of is that this facinating pepper in all the different shapes and sizes is guaranteed to be with us for some time to come.