The Eternal Bonding of Assam’s Bhoot Jolokiya With Local Cuisine
Have you ever seen a ghost while eating a chili!? Well, with Bhoot Jolokiya this is quite possible! Because it is so so so hot that you might feel like a ghost attack while you take a bite of that big red Ghost Chili!
Bhoot Jolokiya, also known as King Chili/Ghost Chili/ Ghost pepper/Naga Jolokiya/Bih Jolokiya etc. has its origin in Assam. Now it’s cultivation is done in many parts across northeast India. Also, seeing the demand in market farmers are growing Bhoot Jolokiya globally now.
A lesser known fact is that though this chili is called Ghost Chili or Ghost Pepper in English following the Assamese name Bhoot Jolokiya, where Bhoot means ghost in Assamese, but here this name doesn’t really mean ghost. Bhoot was actually a tribe in Assam and legends say Bhoot Jolokiya cultivation was first started by this tribe. After their name this chili is called Bhoot Chili or Bhoot Jolokiya.
Bhoot Jolokiya cultivation
Bhoot Jolokiya cultivation is mainly done in Assam and different parts of northeast India. Assam’s climate with 30-35 degree in summer and 6-8 degree in winter and high humidity is perfect for Bhoot Jolokiya cultivation. It takes around 170-200 days for full growth of this chili. When grown fully the chili is around 2.5 to 3.5 inches long and 1 to 1.5 inches wide, and comes in colors mostly red and sometimes green and orange. With the Guinness World Record 2007 of being the hottest chili in the world, this is the hottest chili grown by India by far.
Bhoot Jolokiya health benefits
As this chili is very hot, some may think this might cause side effects or stomach burning when consumed. But Bhoot Jolokiya do not have any side effects, it is even have lots of health benefits. Assam tea is well known. Seeing Bhoot Jolokiya’s numerous health benefits many tea manufacturers in Assam have recently started blending it with tea and producing Bhoot Jolokiya tea. In winters this hot drink helps you to keep warm. Bhoot Jolokiya tea is getting good responses in abroad too.
Some of the health benefits of Bhoot Jolokiya are-
- It keeps you warm. Being the hottest chili, just a few flakes or one small piece of this chili in your soup, tea or with meal is enough to keep your body temperature in place.
- It is good for healing gastritis.
- It helps clear clogged nasal passage.
- It helps in better digestion.
- Treats sinusitis and other flu symptoms.
- Good for heart health and blood too.
Bhoot Jolokiya recipes every spice lover should try-
For people especially from outside Assam often have this question- how to consume Bhoot Jolokiya? Is it dangerous by any means? Beside the fact that it is super hot, Bhoot Jolokiya by no other means is dangerous. Just you need to be careful in rubbing your eyes after touching the chili (especially a broken piece of the chili) if you do not wash your hands properly.
Here are some of the very popular Bhoot Jolokiya recipes from Assam-
- Bhoot Jolokiya pickle- Bhoot Jolokiya pickle is something nobody dislikes. Here you just need to cut the chilis into pieces, add mustard oil, salt, vinegar or lemon juice. You can add mustard powder or garlic if you like, but that is not mandatory because Bhoot Jolokiya itself has a very unique flavor and keeping the recipe simple will help in keeping the flavor of the chili on.
- Bhoot Jolokiya with bambooshoot- This is a deadly combination full of super exotic flavors! The chili is used with fermented bambooshoot and made pickles or used in preparation of different dishes with meat or fish.
- Pork and Bhoot Jolokiya- Pork is a favorite meat for most of the Assamese or northeastern people. The preparation of pork curry is similar to chicken curry, just you can use this chili to add extra spice. Boiled pork with bambooshoot and Bhoot Jolokiya is a favorite local recipe.
- Bhoot jolokiya sauce- Recently king chilli is seen to be used in tomato sauce and few local brands are selling this hot and sweet Bhoot Jolokiya sauce. It is prepared like this- cut the tomatoes in small pieces and bland it to a paste. Start heating the paste, add salt, crushed ginger, cinnamon or any flavor you like. Add king chili paste, mix and bring it to a sauce consistency. Filter and store in bottles.
- Dry Bhoot Jolokiya flakes for seasoning- Machine dried or sun dried Bhoot Jolokiya is crushed into flakes and can be used in seasoning. Very little portion of it can be added to tea leaves to brew Bhoot Jolokiya tea, which is an ideal hot beverage to have in winters.