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Jan 30, 2009 10:58 PM

Ghost Peppers - what to do with them?

I recently got some dried ghost peppers - the hottest chile in the world. I haven't been able to find them fresh - which I would prefer. They are, apparently, three to five times as hot as habaneros.

I love extremely spicy food, but I'd like to use the peppers in some way that I can taste the flavor of the pepper. Any suggestions?

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  1. I'm not sure I know this capsicum by the name you use in the Topic. Are these the Bhut Jolokia chiles?

    You could use these chiles, sparingly, in chili, soup or any dish that is made with a sauce. If you are a devotee of pasta with tomato sauce (Oops, that's gravy to some people of Italian heritage), you could incorporate a chile in the sauce.

    In capsaicin veritas. Buon appetito!

    9 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      The Bhut Jolokia is also called the Ghost Pepper.
      If they are dried, I'd suggest a simple, simple salsa. Let it rest overnight in the fridge tho- so the peppers can rehydrate. Also, maybe doing a simple salsa roja by rehydrating them in warm water, and puree them with some garlic and salt with the leftover water?

      I have been hounding my csa guy to find seeds and try to grow these things. I've read that they are pretty tough to grow. I wanna get my hands on some fresh ones.

      1. re: gordeaux

        Thanks for clearing up the mystery. My nephew was able to order a single Bhut Jolokia plant last year, the last one the vendor had. It grew well in suburban Illinois and produced a few pods, about 6. It was the only chile plant he had last summer. Fortunately, he saved some seeds for this coming growing season.

        My nephew said that the pods were extremely incendiary, but he is no neophyte to capsicums. Good luck with your quest for fresh Ghost chiles.

        The last time I accessed the Chile Institute website, 5 Bhut Jolokia seeds cost $10. That was more than a year ago.

        1. re: ChiliDude

          Very interesting. I'm just outside Chicago myself. Maybe I'll order a few plants/seeds and give it a go.

          1. re: ChiliDude

            I bought my plants in a shop in Gatlinburg TN. they came in a can, open the top and add water. It took a while for them to start coming up, so since I live in Indianapolis had to move them indoors. I transplanted them and grew them under lights over the winter. I got flowers but no peppers. As soon has it got warm enough I took them outside and with the heat and humidity we have had this summer MAN!!! do I have the peppers now!! Growing in a 5 gallon bucket on my patio. I really enjoy them, but have so many, I don't know what to do with them. Can they be frozen, dried. what's the best way to keep them?

            1. re: ChiliDude

              The plants aren't expensive from cross country nurseries and I got my original seed stock from them several years ago. However, last year I bought a few yellow/orange bhut jolokia plants from Pomona's California Polytechnic University farm store. These grew really well and I have one large and bushy plant that wintered over and made hundreds of pods this year. Every bit as hot as the red, but seems to be more hardy and grow much more voraciously.

            2. re: gordeaux

              By now you probably have acquired and cooked with the FRESH Ghost Peppers. I actually grew mine in MN! A long process however as these plants take their devilish time. I have yet to try any recipes since I am now wondering if I should? They have had both positive and negative reviews but it is the negative that is holding me back. I may just wind up selling off the peppers for their seeds.

              1. re: CatInHiding

                You aren't kidding. The plants that I wintered over in the house and transplanted in May of 2010 flourished this year. Pods started developing in late August and did not start to ripen until after 15Sep10. I had a good crop from my 4 plants. I had a condiment called 'harissa' using some of the Bhut Jolokia pods using roasted red bell peppers as the base. All I can say about this wonderful condiment is that it has no attack, but an incendiary finish.

                The strangest thing happened to the pods picked green. They started ripening in the house. I saved some of the seeds to determine if they will germinate when the seeds from harvested pods are viable. The seeds are currently drying.

                1. re: ChiliDude

                  So, my csa guy in Wisconsin was able to grow / harvest a BUNCH of bhuts this year!
                  I made a jerk paste/marinade, and giardiniera.

              2. re: gordeaux

                Very easy to grow in a pot. I planted on Memorial Day and have about 30 pieces of peppers. EFfortless to grow.

            3. I ordered a live Bhut Jolokia plant from Hirt's Gardens early this summer. After some TLC and a long wait, my 12-15 green pepper pods have started to turn deep-red. My god these peppers are fiendishly blistering! I have tried some crazy-insano hot sauces before, but still had nothing that compares to a fresh Ghost Pepper!!! I believe I ordered my plant from Hirt's Gardens via E-bay; you can get them through Amazon as well. We had a hotter-than-normal summer here in Portland, Oregon, but I think they would yield more peppers if grown closer to the equator.

              I use the chilies in Indian food, and to scare small children. I have found these peppers are bearable if you slice them very thinly and use them as a garnish.

              1. I live in Austin and after some rain finally, our Ghost Pepper plant has put off about 10-15 peppers! In about a two weeks time! It seems to thrive on this climate! I would recommend cooking them down, which will keep the flavor while also making the flavor a bit more manageable. This pepper isn't messing around!

                2 Replies
                1. re: StephanieHeuman

                  Did you get some good recipes for this Ghost Pepper Plant? If so, where can I go to view them? I'm a little afraid to try cooking with them since the pepper is sooo hot. I acquired the live plant from my daughter-in-law. She is growing several.

                  1. re: CatInHiding

                    How about substituting them for the habaneros in your favorite spicy dish? (adjust the quantities as needed).

                    If your heat tolerance isn't high enough, you won't be able to use enough of these to taste anything more than the heat.

                2. Not to be taken lightly, the ghost pepper carries with it the awesome responsibility of over one million scoville units. Tread lightly my friend. The orange habanero is a mere 150k.

                  1. This pepper is also known as Naga. I have had it fresh, once, many years ago at a restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY where they had been brought to the dinner and given to the chef...the impact is different than the dried version. The latter gives a rattlesnake bite--but it leaves quite quickly, assuming you are sparing...the former was drug-like in its effect: not so much heat as a dizzying effect, with what felt like an eruption of water blasting out of the scalp. The owner, came over to use and shook his head, smiling. "Oh gosh, they are hot, oh gosh."

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: penthouse pup

                      Well, I have to wonder about that blasting effect in your head. IF you had Ischemic's disease it probably cleared it up! ha (Ischemic's Disease is the narrowing of the arteries in your head - of which I'm sure they were blasted open).

                      1. re: CatInHiding

                        I would absolutely give them a try: why not make a vindaloo, or conventional curry (with plenty of
                        raita on the side--use full fat yoghurt, too so that you can deal with the possible after-effects.) I didn't realize they can now be obtained to be grown...will try it next spring...