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Raja Mirchi Chile Peppers
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Raja Mirchi chile pepper measures only two to three inches in length and one-half to one inch wide at its stem end. It has a classic pepper shape, tapering down to a point at its tip. Its exterior pod is glossy and firm with a waxy sheen and slight wrinkling. Its skin and flesh are bright green when immature and ripen first to an orange then finally when at peak of maturity to a red hue. Both the pod and seeds of the Raja Mirchi chile pepper are extremely hot with a Scoville rating measuring at its peak over one million units. For palates not accustomed to this level of heat even eating just one seed can cause immense pain. Beyond the intense heat the Raja Mirchi chile pepper offers a subtly sweet flavor with grassy nuances.
Raja Mirchi chile peppers can be found growing year-round in tropical climates.
Raja Mirchi also known as Bhut Jolokia, Naga Jolokia, and King chile are a hybrid of Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens. A true Ghost pepper variety the Raja Mirchi is known to be one of the hottest peppers in the world. In 2007 the Bhut Jolkia was given the title of “World’s hottest chile pepper” by the Guinness Book of World Records. A prized chile in India the Raja Mirchi chile is priced as a luxury item and when served for guests is seen as a gracious and prestigious offering.
Surprisingly considering its intense heat the Raja Mirchi chile pepper has long been used in India to treat aliments of the stomach as well as a way to combat the intense heat of the summer months. It also can be used to induce sweating as a means of breaking a fever.
The Raja Mirchi chile pepper is celebrated for its ability to add an extreme heat to foods. Most commonly it is utilized as a condiment in preparation of chutneys or preserved in oil and pickling brines. The peppers can also be dehydrated and saved for future use or ground down to make a powdered seasoning. The pepper is also used to make hot sauces, either by cooking them down or letting them infuse in vinegar or oil. They can be added to curries to add a powerful heat and spice. When both raw and preserved Raja Mirchi chile peppers can be diced and served as a spicy hot accompaniment to Indian preparations. To store the Raja Mirchi keep refrigerated or in a cool dry place and use within one to two weeks.
In the early 2000’s the Raja Mirchi chile pepper was used at London’s Cinnamon Club restaurant by Chef Vivek Singh to create a dish touted as the world’s hottest curry which contained seven of the deadly hot peppers and required consumers to sign a release form prior to consuming. Not surprisingly the pepper is also being studied in India by the military for use in weapons of defense and additionally as a deterrent for elephants in protection of villages, crops and people.
The Raja Mirchi chile pepper is native to India where it has been grown and consumed for generations. It first gained international attention in 2000 when an Assam based defense research laboratory touted the pepper as the world’s hottest pepper. The pepper was first studied for its official Scoville units in 2005 by Dr. Paul Bosland at the Chile Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University in the United States where it tested at a whopping 1,001,304 Scoville units. The pepper is believed by horticulturists to thrive in the climate of Northern India where the peppers are provided the perfect amount of heat and humidity as well as ideal soil for producing Raja Mirchi chile peppers with the upmost flavor and heat.