The Ghost Chili, also known as the Bhut Jolokia or Raja Mirchi, is one of the hottest chili peppers in the world. Grown in India, ghost chili peppers are small peppers, harvested when bright red and ripe, and dried to a dusty red color. A member of the capsicum annum family of peppers, ghost chilis are used, sparingly, in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine.
Ghost chilis are best dried, when aging gives these potent peppers a more complex flavor profile. They are hot, to be sure, but also slightly smoky and bitter. Use dried ghost chili peppers whole, chopped, or ground. For a more manageable ingredient, consider making chili oil. Infusing the flavors of the ghost chili into a high-quality oil will create an easily measured and blend-able ingredient, making working with this hazardous and potent spice slightly easier. Add a drop at a time to a dish until the desired level of spice is achieved. The ghost chili can quickly turn the best meal unpalatable if used in excess.
To balance the heat of this incredibly spicy pepper, try pairing with citrus, dairy, or alcohol. Use gloves and do not touch your eyes or inhale the ground chili powder while using ghost peppers. Wash your hands and all utensils thoroughly after cooking. Buy ghost chilis, the hottest pepper, and find out just how much heat you can stand!
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