Naga Jolokia pepper

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Naga Jolokia pepper
Fresh Naga Jolokia Peppers (whole and cut)
Fresh Naga Jolokia Peppers (whole and cut)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. chinense / C. frutescens
Subspecies: C. c. cultivar Naga Jolokia
Trinomial name
Capsicum chinense 'Naga Jolokia'

Heat: Peak (SR: 1,041,427)

The Naga Jolokia (also known as Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Chili, Ghost Pepper, Naga Morich) is a chili pepper that grows primarily in Assam state of India, but also in northeastern India (Nagaland, Manipur), Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. In 2007, it was confirmed by Guinness World Records to be the hottest chili in the world, replacing the Red Savina. Disagreement has arisen on whether it is a Capsicum frutescens or a Capsicum chinense. The Indians claim it is a C. frutescens,[1] but recent DNA tests have found that it is an interspecies hybrid, mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes.[2]


[edit] Nomenclature

It is called Naga Morich in Bangladesh, Nai Miris in Sri Lanka (Nai = 'Cobra', Miris = 'Chili'; in Sinhalese) and Bih Jolokia in the Indian state of Assam (Bih = 'poison', Jolokia = 'chili pepper'; in Assamese). Other names are Bhut Jolokia (Bhut = 'ghost', probably due to its ghostly bite or introduction by the Bhutias from Bhutan poison chili), Oo-Morok in Manipur (Oo = 'Tree', 'Oo' pronounced as in Book, Morok = 'Chilli'), Borbih Jolokia, Nagahari, Nagajolokia, Naga Moresh and Raja Mirchi ('King of Chillies'). Regardless of the nomenclature, they all refer to the same plant. The word Naga, meaning "cobra snake" in Sanskrit, stems from Nagaland and the Naga Community.

Ripe peppers measure 60 mm (2.4 in) to 85 mm (3.3 in) long and 25 mm (1.0 in) to 30 mm (1.2 in) wide with an orange or red color. They are similar in appearance to the Habanero pepper, but have a rougher, dented skin - a main characteristic of the Naga.[3]

[edit] Scoville rating

In 2000, scientists at India's Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of 855,000 units on the Scoville scale,[1] and in 2004 an Indian company obtained a rating of 1,041,427 units through HPLC analysis.[4] This makes it almost twice as hot as the Red Savina pepper. For comparison, pure capsaicin rates at 15,000,000–16,000,000 Scoville units.

In 2005 at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute near Las Cruces, New Mexico, Regents Professor Paul Bosland found Naga Jolokia grown from seed in southern New Mexico to have a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 SHU by HPLC.[5]

In February 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia (Prof. Bosland's preferred name for the pepper) as the world's hottest chili pepper.[5][6]

The effect of climate on the Scoville rating of Naga Jolokia peppers is dramatic. A 2005 Indian study that compared the percentage availability of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in Naga Jolokia peppers grown in both Tezpur (Assam) and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) showed that the heat of the pepper is decreased by over 50% in Gwalior's more arid climate (similar temperatures but less humid, much lower rainfall).[7]

[edit] Dorset Naga variety

Dorset Naga peppers

A British-grown variety of Naga jolokia, called Dorset Naga pepper is cultivated in West Bexington, Dorset, England.[8] It was developed through simple plant selection by a British couple using Naga jolokia bought at a Pakistani food store in Bournemouth, UK.[9] Samples of the 2005 crop sent to two different U.S. laboratories in early 2006 reported heat ratings of 876,000 and 970,000 Scoville units.[8]

The British couple selling this variety claim that they have developed it and have sought plant variety protection so that no one else can sell the seeds.[10]

[edit] Characteristics

Plant height 45-120 cm
Stem color Green
Leaf color Green
Leaf length 10.65-14.25 cm
Leaf width 5.4-7.5 cm
Pedicels/axil 2
Corolla color Yellow green
Another color Pale blue
Annular constriction Present below calyx
Fruit color at maturity Red
Fruit shape Sub-conical to conical
Fruit length 5.95-8.54 cm
Fruit width at shoulder 2.5-2.95 cm
Fruit weight 6.95-8.97 g
Fruit surface Rough, uneven
Seed color Light brown
1000 seed weight 0.41-0.46 g
Seeds/fruit 19.22-34.15
Hypocotyl color Green
Cotyledonous leaf shape Deltoid

[edit] Uses

The pepper is used as a spice in food or eaten alone. One seed from a Naga Jolokia can produce sustained intense pain sensations in the mouth for up to 30 minutes before subsiding. Extreme care should be taken when ingesting the pepper and its seeds, so as to not get it in the eyes. It is used as a cure for stomach ailments. It is also used as a remedy to summer heat, presumably by inducing perspiration. [11] In northeastern India the peppers are smeared on fences or used in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants at a distance.[12] [13]

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Mathur R, et al (2000). "The hottest chili variety in India" (PDF). Current Science 79 (3): 287–8. 
  2. ^ Paul W. Bosland and Jit B. Baral (2007). "‘Bhut Jolokia’—The World’s Hottest Known Chile Pepper is a Putative Naturally Occurring Interspecific Hybrid". Horticultural Science 42 (2): 222-4. 
  3. ^ Barker, Catherine L. (2007), "Hot Pod: World's Hottest", National Geographic Magazine 2007 (May): 21 
  4. ^ "Bih jolokia" (html). 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-12. 
  5. ^ a b Shaline L. Lopez (2007). "NMSU is home to the world’s hottest chile pepper" (html). Retrieved on 2007-02-21. 
  6. ^ "Indian chilli world's hottest: Guinness" (html). 2007. Retrieved on 2007-02-18. 
  7. ^ Tiwari A, et al (2005). "Adaptability and production of hottest chili variety under Gwalior climatic conditions" (PDF). Current Science 88 (10): 1545–6. 
  8. ^ a b "Dorset claims world's hottest chilli - Telegraph". Retrieved on 2009-01-04. 
  9. ^ "Fiery import curries flavour in England". Retrieved on 2009-01-04. 
  10. ^ "Naga Jolokia, it’s hot- Opinion-The Economic Times". Retrieved on 2009-01-04. 
  11. ^ "‘Ghost chili’ burns away stomach ills - Diet & Nutrition -" (html). Associated Press. 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-05. 
  12. ^ Hussain, Wasbir (2007-11-20). "World's Hottest Chili Used as Elephant Repellent". National Geographic. Retrieved on 2007-11-21. 
  13. ^ "Toast Chili Scares Off Elephants". National Geographic News website. National Geographic. 2007-11-20. Retrieved on 2008-08-18. 
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