Gimme some o’ that Hot Stuff

I bring to your attention two pictures taken yesterday near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It’s a striking reminder as to the source of the deliciousness of Indian cuisine:

“Must remember to not touch my eyes…must remember to not touch my eyes…

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And in related news:

India’s Bhut Jolokia chilli has been confirmed as the world’s hottest pepper by The Guinness Book of Records, a US researcher said.

Bhut Jolokia comes in at 1,001,304 Scoville heat units, a measure of hotness for a chilli. It is nearly twice as hot as Red Savina, the variety it replaces as the hottest. By comparison, an average jalapeno measures at about 10,000.

Paul Bosland, a regents professor at New Mexico State University, recalls taking a bite of the chilli pepper and feeling like he was breathing fire. He gulped down a soda, thinking, ”That chilli has got to be some kind of record.” [Link]

26 thoughts on “Gimme some o’ that Hot Stuff

  1. It’s not your eyes you have to worry about touching, it’s something else …

  2. smokin’.

    not native to India

    south asia seems to have the highest frequency of PTC non-tasters in the world, and there is evidence that this tendency allows from greater toleration of spiceness inherently. so, brownz might have been primed for the emergence of chili peppers after the post-columbian exchange.

  3. I’ve always heard the Habanero pepper is the hottest but what do I know.

    In any event I’ve always wanted to have an international spicy food or pepper eating contest similar to the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest with Kobahyashi and the IFOCE

    Just think Mexico vs India…..

  4. You do know that chillies aren’t native to India right?

    Really! Wow, I’m amazed. So what did desis spice up their food with about 500 years ago? I’m guessing it might simply have been other spices, some quite hot as well – just try throwing in an excess of bayleaf or cloves into what you cook. It can be really hard to eat.

  5. They used pepper. Chillies are native to South America. Tandoori is hardly an “Indian dish” either. It was invented when then Brits ruled India when an Indian cook used a tin of tomatoes (again, tomatoes are not native to India) to cook a meal for his Brit overlords.

  6. speaking of hot chili’s… has anyone seen the fantastic smita patil film, ‘mirch masala’?

    That was a pimp movie. Especially the ending when Naseeruddin Shah sees red.

  7. My lord, I love the habanero pepper so much it’s almost painful. But these…now they look worthy of being challenged!

  8. PS: It’s chile and not chili over here :) . I wonder if I can order my enchiladas with the “ghost chile” instead of the usual red or green variety.

  9. Tandoori is hardly an “Indian dish” either. It was invented when then Brits ruled India when an Indian cook used a tin of tomatoes (again, tomatoes are not native to India) to cook a meal for his Brit overlords.

    Nope. The tandoori style of cooking, while it may be Afghan/Turkic in origin, is not a Brit legacy. You are thinking of chicken tikka masala

  10. My lord, I love the habanero pepper so much it’s almost painful. But these…now they look worthy of being challenged!

    Hot peppers and sauces are awesome, only when you’re not suprised by them. Daves Insanity and a whole host of hot sauces are wonderful. When I pass the hot sauce isle in a grocery store, I gawk.

    However, when you’re not prepared for them and ingest it, absolute pain is the result. In cancun, my buddies and I were eating quesadillas at a stand. The condiments were lined up – regular salsa, some green salsa, and white stuff. We thought the white stuff was sour cream. So, all of us heaped a tablespoon each of that stuff on our food.

    The white stuff was some type of habanero paste. Three drunk desi guys with water streaming from eyes while screaming was a funny site for those around us.

  11. We thought the white stuff was sour cream. So, all of us heaped a tablespoon each of that stuff on our food.

    That’s how locals mess w/ tourists. In Maharashtra they serve safed rassa (white curry) made of mirchi seeds. It’s fun to see a grown man cry :D

  12. You do know that chillies aren’t native to India right?
    Really! Wow, I’m amazed. So what did desis spice up their food with about 500 years ago?

    As has been noted above, black pepper was commonly used since ancient times. It is called Maricha in Sanskrit from which the Hindi Mirch has been derived. As most people are probably aware, this among the valuable spices that were traded with the Europeans in the ancient and medieval times, and the reason starting from Alexander to Columbus to Vasco Da Gama, conquerers, sailors and traders sought better routes to India.

    * It is funny that the photos of the drying red chillis reminds quite a few of us of the film Mirch Masala :-)

  13. And to begin with, pass the pepper. -What’s that you say?- The trees themselves are surprised into speech. (And have you never, in solitude and despair, talked to the walls, to your idiot pooch, to empty air?) I repeat: the pepper, if you please; for if it had not been for peppercorns, then what is ending now in East and West might never have begun. Pepper it was that brought Vasco da Gama’s tall ships across the ocean, from Lisbon’s Tower of Bel?m to the Malabar Coast: first to Calicut and later, for its lagoony harbour, to Cochin. English and French sailed in the wake of that first-arrived Portugee, so that in the period called Discovery-of-India-but how could we be discovered when we were not covered before?-we were ‘not so much sub-continent as sub-condiment’, as my distinguished mother had it. ‘From the beginning, what the world wanted from bloody mother India was daylight-clear,’ she’d say. ‘They came for the hot stuff, just like any man calling on a tart.’

    -Rushdie (The Moor’s Last Sigh)

  14. What kind of chilli is the ‘Extra Red Hot Chilli powder’ that you get in stores made of?

  15. Corn isn’t native to India either but we use it in so many dishes. I don’t think I could handle Indian food from 500 years ago.

  16. In any event I’ve always wanted to have an international spicy food or pepper eating contest similar to the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest with Kobahyashi and the IFOCE

    Vurd.

  17. Only fair to point out that the soil any chiles are grown in effect their potency. Thus a pepper from one farm may be hotter than the same variety grown on another. So claims that some Indian varieties are hotter than, say, the same variety tried in Mexico may tbe accurate. My wife claims that the type of fertilizer also helps. She prefers chicken droppings. As for the black pepper, the black peppercorns I get in Vietnam are much hotter than any in North America. Likewise, within North America, the wife used to get her ground black pepper mailed from Canada, as it was spicier than any sold in the U.S.(Indian or other Asian peppercorns perhaps?) Glad to see that Desi commenters are not offended by the thought that chiles (and corn and tomatoes) came from Mexico. Many Korean commenters go ballistic when someone suggests that kimchi was invented with an assist from Mexico. (likely by way of Japan)

    Curry must be Indian, as the Vietnamese word for it is “ca ri”, and many of their home grown curry trademarks show what is supposed to be an Indian in a highly stylized turban.

  18. If you are in the Austin, Texas area try “The Source” at Tears of Joy-

    The hottest product on the market is The Source made by Original Juan. This pure extract is a mind-blowing 7.1 MILLION Scoville Units (Tears of Joy sells this, but at the store location only). Pure crystalline capsaicin is 16 million Scoville Units.

    At the Austin Hot Sauce festival they give samples of this on a the tiny tip of a toothpick and you place it on your tongue to feel the burn