And no, this is not some cheap trick to make you look and read this post:). I’m talking about the spiciest pepper in the world, Bhut Jolakia or the ghost pepper. We happened to taste Amma’s and Anusuya’s Pacchai Milagai Thokku or green serrano and thai pepper (chili) chutney last week. The lunch conversation turned into a discussion around the spiciest pepper in the world. Did you know, for instance, that the Bhut Jolakia has over 800k to a million scovil units, the units used to measure the hotness in pepper? And that it’s three times more spicy than habanero pepper, which I always thought was the spiciest pepper I had had.
And you know by now, that we are a family that loves spicy food, from my 9 year old to my 75 year old mother-in-law:). So this conversation was enough to get the taste buds and curiosity stirred to look for this pepper in the local stores.
It may have been sheer coincidence but we were out shopping at Central Market that same day and Nikhil spotted this exact pepper in the produce aisle. I wasn’t expecting to find this so soon, and was amused that our conversation had fascinated Nikhil enough to look for it as well. This wasn’t the fresh but the dried ghost pepper, and the warning on the package was enough to tell us this was the right one indeed:)
We got right down to making Milagai Thokku with some serrano peppers and the ghost pepper. We used serrano only to balance the spice since one ghost pepper was said to be enough to get steam out of your ears:), but if you’re more courageous, try this chutney with thai chili peppers instead. I also think I would try to use fresh ghost pepper instead of the dry one. My only complaint with the dried pepper was that it had a slight smoky, almost chipotle pepper like taste that in my opnion, skewed the taste to a Tex-mex Milagai chutney instead:)
1/2 pound serrano chilies, finely chopped
2 dried ghost peppers, soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes
Tamarind paste – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sesame or til oil – 2 tbsp (you need the oil to preserve this chutney for a few days)
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafetida, crushed or powdered – 1/2 tsp
1. Grind the chopped serrano peppers, ghost pepper, tamarind and salt in a grinder to a fine paste. Make sure you don’t ad any water to this paste. The salt will help liquefy it.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottom vessel (kadai) and when hot, add the mustard seeds and asafetida.
3. Add the ground paste and fry in the hot oil.
4. You will need to fry for about 10 minutes or so while stirring occasionally, till the oil appears around the sides of the chutney. The color of the chutney will also change from bright green to about greenish-brown.
5. Cool and transfer to an air tight vessel.
6. You can enjoy this with dosa, idli, rice or just about any Indian dish!