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Aug 9, 2010 04:58 PM

HOTTEST hot pepper for sale at Astoria Bodega

The generally unremarkable Bangladeshi (or Indian, or Pakistani) Bodega on 31st Street just north of the 30 Ave Subway Stop (east side of street) -- which does, finally sell beer -- has some of the ab-so-lute-ly hottest peppers for sale. Last night they were laid out on a Hindi newspaper by the register. Fifty cents each. "They better be hot," said, I, with attitude. Then I bit just the teeniest little tip of the end of one.

Wow! I've never had anything like it (and this despite the fact I buy random hot pepper I come across)

I've since identified this crazy pepper as Bhut Jolokia.

Buy them while you can. But be careful. No joke.

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  1. This is also not a joke: the Indian Army is working on "weaponizing" them to use as a non-lethal crowd supressant. Or maybe it's the US Army, I'm not sure.

    But yeah, these things are no joke.

    4 Replies
    1. re: egit

      I grow them! I grew them 2 years ago...gave most of them away..these are POWERFUL peppers. For a typical dish I would cut out the seeds, toss them into my curry/chili/etc for no more than 5 minutes. Gave me the maximum amount of heat for me...too strong for wife and kids. I grew both bhut and bih jolokias. same heat, bih's are smaller. Last year was unsuccessful...the cool rainy June ruined them. This year is a banner pepper year. In addition to the other jolokia's, I'm growing yellow ones..seem less hot, more along habanero lines...chocolate, which to me is just a large habanero...same flavor and heat. Also Trinidad scorpions, 7 pot, and black congo habanero. I haven't sampled most of them yet...there is only so much heat my family takes.

      1. re: EricMM

        "there is only so much heat my family takes." Jeez, with what you grow, it seems like you're far above and beyond the family norm in the heat department.;-))

        Interesting post, nevertheless. I hadn't heard of the black Congo, sounds ominous somehow. There was a recent thead about habs vs scotch bonnets identification, with a mention that it's tough to find the Jolokia in NYC. Now I know where I can.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          im fairly certain that kalustyans carries them, dried.

          1. re: tex.s.toast

            That Queens location is not far from me. But I'm not sure if I'll go there at 1 am on a Sunday night, as the OP did.;)

    2. Are these the red ones or the green ones? If it's green nagas then those are extremely common and can be had at virtually any Bangladeshi grocery store in New York if you ask for them. They tend to keep them under the counter wrapped in newspaper if they're not in a little basket on the counter. However, if they're red, then it would be the first time I have ever seen one of those in the US.

      6 Replies
      1. re: JFores

        They had both green and red. I bought two and two.

        But I went back the bodega a few days ago and asked if they had any more peppers. The guy had absolutely no idea what i was talking about and looked at me like I was crazy.

        It was about 1am on a Sunday night when I bought them. So I might try and go back at the same time and see if the same guy is working. I mean, I'm not crazy. I did see them. I did buy them. I still have them!

        My Indian friend who loves them says when you cook with them, you leave them whole and let them simmer with the dish. Then you don't eat them.

        1. re: fotaq

          Is this place called Smart Choice? I dropped by Thursday and got the same response. The guy pointed me instead toward the bags of chile powder on the shelves. I figure the Indian army got to him and he's not supposed to talk about it.

          Smart Choice
          2855 31st St, Queens, NY 11102

          1. re: squid kun

            Yes. Smart Choice.

            Smart Choice
            2855 31st St, Queens, NY 11102

          2. re: fotaq

            That's exactly what you do. I split them, remove the seeds, then toss them in. I leave them 5-10 minutes, then remove them. Last night I made a chili with my largest yellow bhut jolokia. Removed half after 10 minutes, half after 15. Came out very comfortably hot. I think the yellows are a little less hot than the usual red jolokias, but the yellow color makes them easier to spot when its time to remove them.. Also made guacamole with a large congo black habanero. The guacamole was much hotter than the chili...but then again I used the pepper raw and blended in. It was delicious.....

            1. re: fotaq

              They're back! It was the same guy working as last Sunday night. But he insisted they were not *his* peppers and should always be there. The bag was filled with red peppers (and a few green). But isn't the color just a matter for time with green turning to red.

              The guys there are indeed Bangladeshi. And the name he used is Naga Morich. He did not know it by the Indian, "bhut jolokia."

              1. re: fotaq

                Naga morich is a different pepper from Bhut Jolokia. I am growing it this year. At first I believed it was synonymous with Bih jolokia, the smaller pepper, but apparently it isn't. Its smaller than bhut jolokia, slightly larger than bih jolokia. However, all the Naga chilies are in the same group of super-hot peppers, so any differences would be comparing habanero's, scotch bonnets, and carribean reds. (There is a mild habanero type sometimes sold as scotch bonnet...but it is much smaller and very mild, but fruity...good for salads.)

          3. Are these also called "ghost" chiles? If so, they were available at Brooklyn Kitchen Labs, but I think at $5 per dried chile or at least $5 for a small paper packet of dried chiles. I wouldn't recommend swinging by without calling, but they did have a bunch of them at one point.

            Brooklyn Kitchen
            616 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            7 Replies
            1. re: lambretta76

              Yes. Naga chilies such as jolokia's are also called ghost chilies.

              1. re: EricMM

                Did you catch Adam Richman of Man vs. Food fame consume, now I don't remember whether it was a sauce seasoned with the Jolokia or the pepper was actually in the dish; no matter, he was quite overwhelmed by the heat.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Yes I saw that show...they were called ghost chilies, and I think his dish contained not just jolokia's but cayenne and other chilies. Wouldn't even be noticeable once jolokia is added. Wasteful....but then again, that seems to be the point of that show.

                  1. re: EricMM

                    I put my jolokia's to good use. We got take-out from a local Indian restaurant near me. My family likes it, I find it bland. So I just took my smallest jolokia...cut off the bottom half, and minced it. Just the tiniest piece added to a mouthful of daal or lamb curry made all the difference in the world!

                    1. re: EricMM

                      Adam went to Brickhouse on 6th street between 1st snf 2nd Ave.
                      Love the show It's like Diners Drive in's and Dives meets Jackass!

                      1. re: phantomdoc

                        A stand had these for sale, packaged, this weekend at Brooklyn Flea but I can't remember the name of the company. I didn't dare to taste them ;)

                        Brooklyn Flea
                        176 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                        1. re: jinx

                          I'm going to make a separate post on the Home Cooking section about my painful experience last night using a chocolate bhut very careful with these peppers!

              2. Ghost chiles have turned up at, of all places, Agata & Valentina, the fancy uptown grocery ( ). From its Facebook page: "This is exciting: We've just gotten a few cases of fresh Ghost Chilis, or Bhut Jolokia. This is the hottest pepper EVER grown, folks! On the Scoville Scale (the scientific measure of spiciness) it's fully twice as spicy as the spiciest habanero. If you can handle a seriously spicy kick, this is the chili for you! (Tip: Always wear gloves when handling these powerful peppers.)"

                That was a few weeks ago, so I'd call before going there.

                2 Replies
                1. re: squid kun

                  Its not the hottest anymore. Some guy in Britain, of all places, has bred a new pepper (from bhut jolokia and some other hotties) that is something like 1.5 million on the Scoville scale. Meanwhile, my own crop of various types of jolokia, 7 pot, trinidad scorpion, etc is coming in pretty heavy.

                  1. re: EricMM

                    It can take a while for the latest chile news to reach the Upper East Side.

                2. Staten Island grown Bhut Jolokia