Ghost Peppers, also known as Bhut Jolokia, are an incredibly spicy variety of chili pepper native to India. If you have a love for food that is hot enough to make your eyes water and put your mouth on fire, you absolutely need Ghost Pepper products on your kitchen shelves. And you can find the best, organic, non-GMO Ghost Pepper products right here at Magic Plant Farms.
In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Ghost Pepper chili from a culinary perspective – what it is, where it is from, what it tastes like, how hot it can be, what you can cook with it, and so much more. Let’s get started!
Ghost Pepper Fast Facts
- Name – Ghost Pepper
- Alternate Names – Bhut Jolokia, Naga Chili, Raja Mircha
- Species – Capsicum chinense
- Heat Level – 855,000 to 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs)
- Geographic Origin – Northeast India
- Flavor – Smoky and earthy with a fruity, sweet aftertaste
- Appearance – Elongated tear-drop shape with a slight taper and ripens to an orange-red color with moderately wrinkled skin.
What Is the Ghost Pepper Chili?
The Ghost Pepper is a cultivar of Capsicum chinense that was developed over centuries in the Northeastern region of India. It is a hybrid chili pepper belonging to the “Habanero-type” family of chili peppers.
In the local languages, it is known by many defining names. Bhut Jolokia literally means “ghost chili” or “demon chili” in Assamese. It is also called “vih jolokia” or poison pepper, and “Raja Mircha,” which translates into “king chili.”
The Ghost Pepper ranks among the spiciest chili peppers in the world. In fact, between 2007 and 2011, the Ghost Pepper chili held the title of the “Hottest Chili Pepper” from Guinness World Records. Over time, the Ghost Pepper was overtaken by other ultra-spicy peppers like the Infinity Chili, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, and the Naga Viper.
Right now, the mantle of the hottest chili belongs to the Carolina Reaper which is more than twice as hot as the Ghost Pepper at a peak of 2.2 million SHUs! Even if it is not at the top of the list of chili heat rankings, the Ghost Pepper chili still packs a punch.
To call it a weapons-grade chili pepper would not be an exaggeration. With its extreme strength, the Ghost Pepper has been useful beyond the culinary arts. Traditionally, people used to burn dried Bhut Jolokia pods to scare away wild elephants. The Indian military has even created non-lethal grenades and pepper sprays based on the Ghost Pepper extracts.
To give you a better idea about the Ghost Pepper, here is a table showing the heat levels of some common peppers:
- Bell Peppers: 0 SHUs (no heat)
- Poblano Peppers: up to 2,000 SHUs (mild heat)
- Jalapeño Peppers: up to 5,000 SHUs (medium heat)
- Cayenne Peppers: up to 50,000 SHUs (high heat)
- Habanero Peppers: up to 300,000 SHUs (extra high heat)
- Ghost Peppers: over 1,000,000 SHUs (extreme heat)
Ghost Peppers in Traditional Cooking
The Ghost Pepper is a staple ingredient in several states in Northeast India. These chili peppers are most commonly used in curries or stews involving chicken, pork, and beef. Ghost chilies are also heavily used to make pickles, chili oils, sauces, and marinades.
Additionally, they are used raw as a condiment alongside a meal of rice and stews. When used in moderation and with the utmost care, the Ghost Pepper can add a unique and delicious flavor to most dishes. Usually, a single chili pepper or even half a pepper is enough to spice up an entire dish. It is best to start out with a smaller amount and add more as you go.
Tips and Things to Know Before You Handle the Ghost Pepper
With their extremely high levels of capsaicin, Ghost Peppers have the potential to hurt you if you are not careful. Here are some things you should keep in mind when planning to use Ghost Pepper products in your kitchen.
Wear Protective Gear
The oils in these peppers can cause chili burns – a type of chemical burn – if they come in contact with unprotected skin and eyes. It is important to remember to always wear gloves and try not to have exposed skin. For maximum protection, wear long-sleeved shirts.
And it does not stop with gloves – a kitchen mask and kitchen goggles are almost mandatory. When the peppers are heated, they can release potent vapors that can burn your eyes and nose when you stand near the stove.
People with asthma or other respiratory illnesses and allergies should be extra careful when handling Ghost Pepper chili powders. Masks and wraparound glasses are particularly important for someone with these conditions when cooking with Ghost Peppers in powder form.
Learn How to Treat a Chemical Burn
Before you begin cooking, it is important to know how to treat a chemical burn from a Ghost Pepper in case it does happen to you. Capsaicin in chili peppers can repel water like regular oils so this isn’t a normal type of burn. Drinking water or splashing it on the affected area of the skin will not provide any relief. Instead, you can consider these alternatives:
Milk and Yogurt Products
To break down oily substances you need acids. Milk and yogurt are slightly acidic – they can provide some relief from chili burns. You can either drink it or soak your skin with it.
Since they are highly acidic, lime and lemon juices are also quite effective in removing capsaicin. For any burns on the skin or face, acidic lemon juice is an excellent remedy.
You may have some success in fighting fire with fire – vegetable oils can dissolve the capsaicin after contact with your skin. If applied to the affected area, it will dilute the heat and make it less intense.
Capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol. A cold beer can help relieve the pain in your mouth.
Use Superhot Chili Peppers According to Tolerance
With Ghost Peppers, moderation is vital – depending on your tolerance of chili heat, just a small sliver of the pepper may be enough to spice up an entire dish. In this case, under-spicing by adding small amounts of pepper is the smart move.
If you feel that it is not hot enough, you can always add some more. However, if you add too much in one go, the dish may end up ruined and inedible. In the beginning, you can stick to simple recipes like basic hot sauces or infused oils.
Once you know your comfort level with the Ghost Pepper, you can move on to more complex recipes like salsas and stews. It is a great way to get a handle on the appropriate proportions.
Balance Out the Heat With Citrus
One of the best tips to help balance out the heat of a Ghost Pepper, if you’ve perhaps added too much to your dish, is to use citruses like lemons and limes. The acid in these fruits helps to neutralize the excessively spicy flavor that the Ghost Pepper has to offer. By adding citrus to your dish at the appropriate time, you can cut down on some of that intense heat you experience when eating food involving Ghost Peppers. This is also a great way to reduce spiciness without having to add any extra ingredients that would take away from the original flavor of your recipe.
Chili Pepper Dishes Become Hotter Over Time
The capsaicin and other essential oils in the chili pepper will take time to infuse into your recipes. In sauces and salsas, this can lead to an increase in the spice levels if you leave it in your fridge for a few days to a week.
Always keep this fact in mind when using Ghost Peppers in dishes that you will not consume immediately. You may want to tone down the quantity of the Ghost Pepper products as a precaution. And be extra careful when opening and using a bottle of Ghost Pepper sauce after a few weeks!
Label Everything Linked to Ghost Peppers
Whether you live alone or with family/friends, it is vital that you put warning labels on all your Ghost Pepper products and dishes. People can get hurt by unknowingly using a Ghost Pepper sauce. By labeling everything with bold warning signs, you can ensure that there are no surprises.
Why You Should Try Ghost Pepper Products
For the Spice
Chili heat is an acquired taste. Some people don’t fancy it, while others try it for the first time and get hooked for life. A hot pepper derives its pungent flavor mainly from a chemical called capsaicin.
The capsaicin in hot peppers produces a unique sensation that is quite enjoyable to pepper enthusiasts. If you find yourself in this category of people, then you will not be satisfied with the Serrano Peppers and Poblano Peppers, or even the Orange Habanero Peppers.
With over 200 times the heat level of a Jalapeño, and 3 times the heat of a Habanero, Ghost Pepper products can give you that capsaicin kick you crave!
For the Flavor
Be it fresh, smoked, or dried, the Ghost Pepper can add a delightful fruity zest and sweetness to any dish you craft. It’s quite different from the milder, more popular chilies you find in the produce department of a standard grocery store. You just have to taste it to know the difference.
Also, if you want to cook authentic dishes from Asia or the Caribbean, the Ghost Pepper is an excellent option. It can easily replace other chili peppers like the Scotch Bonnet and the Habanero in your salsas, salads, stews, and marinades.
Popular Ghost Pepper Products and How to Use Them
At Magic Plant Farms, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality exotic chili peppers in an array of forms for maximum convenience to our buyers. The Ghost Pepper selection includes the following products:
- Ghost Chili Whole Pods
- Ghost Chili Pepper Mash
- Ghost Chili Pepper Powder
- Ghost Chili Crushed Pepper Flakes
The versatility of Ghost Peppers makes them a popular ingredient in a variety of dishes and drinks, from salsa and soups to Margaritas and Bloody Marys. Overall, the trend of using Ghost Peppers in food and cocktails is driven by the desire for bold and adventurous flavor experiences.
How to Use Whole Pods of Ghost Pepper
Raw peppers are not easy to store or transport so Ghost Peppers are traditionally preserved through sun drying or smoking. The peppers are mainly bought whole and then processed at home in various ways, depending on the dish or other use.
Before using whole pepper pods, remember to soak them in warm water for up to 15–20 minutes. This helps to hydrate the pepper pods and make them easier to grind. Here are the many ways in which you can use whole pods of Ghost Pepper in your kitchen:
- Curry Paste: Grind the whole Ghost Pepper pods along with other spices like ginger or garlic and create a fine paste to add to spicy curries and stews. Here’s an innovative recipe for Extra Spicy Ghost Pepper Chicken Curry using one of the hottest curry pastes.
- Extracts: Making Ghost Pepper extract is a relatively simple process that involves blending fresh Ghost Peppers with high-proof alcohol, allowing the mixture to steep for a few weeks, and then straining out the solids to leave a concentrated liquid. Ghost Pepper extract should be used sparingly due to its extreme heat and potency and can be added to sauces, marinades, and other dishes for an extra kick of spice.
- Spiced Cocktails: Reconstitute the pepper pod by soaking it in warm water and then add it to a bottle of vodka or another spirit of your choice. Keep checking the spice levels every day until it reaches your target heat levels. The resulting Ghost Pepper liquor can be used to create a wide array of hot and spicy cocktails. Here is another fun cocktail recipe that retains the smokiness and earthiness of a smoked Ghost Pepper.
- Fermented Foods and Sauces: Kimchi and sauerkraut are examples of fermented foods you can elevate to a whole new level with the addition of Ghost Pepper pods. All popular hot sauces like tabasco and sriracha taste great because they are fermented. You can enhance the spice levels in these sauces by replacing the regular hot peppers with Ghost Peppers.
- Chocolates and Desserts: Spicy cocoa drinks, chocolate cakes, ice creams, candies, peanut brittle – there are plenty of interesting dessert possibilities that can be made with Ghost Peppers. The trick is to use the peppers in small amounts to add a kick to the sweetness. Here’s a recipe for Ghost Pepper Lime Cheesecake; a recipe for Chocolate Ghost Pepper Cookies; and a recipe for Chocolate Ghost Pepper Crème Brûleé.
How to Use Ghost Chili Pepper Mash
Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) mash is available in both retail and industrial quantities at Magic Plant Farms. Super hot chili peppers are widely available in mash form for one major use – creating your own version of a hot sauce like the tabasco sauce or sriracha!
Whether you want to make commercial-scale batches or cook up some great dishes for friends and family, our Ghost Chili Pepper Mash can make a huge difference. Apart from hot sauce recipes, you can also add the mash to chili bean recipes, meat and fish marinades, barbecue hot sauces, salsa, stews, and more.
Please do remember that most raw pepper mash has to be processed and cooked in some way before it is fit for consumption.
How to Use Ghost Pepper Powder
While hot sauces are incredibly flavorful and widely used in cooking curries and other “wet” recipes, they are not that versatile in other dishes. For instance, measuring and handling sauces and paste is not very easy or intuitive.
Powders, on the other hand, are both easy to store and easy to handle. If you want a seasoning powder that you can use to add a massive kick of heat to any dish you plan to cook – fries, sauces, curries, salads, steaks, and more – you need a jar of our Ghost chili powder in your spice rack.
After the whole pepper pods, the chili powder is the most versatile product in our Ghost Pepper lineup. You don’t have to worry about handling it directly – you can use a spoon to avoid direct skin contact and get accurate measurements with ease.
How to Use Ghost Pepper Flakes
Chili flakes are widely used as pizza toppings, and in many stir fries, pasta dishes, pickles, soups, and so much more. If you want to infuse your dish with the subtle flavors of Ghost Pepper, chili flakes are the ideal product.
They also work well as simple condiments on your table and do a much better job at it than chili powders which can often be quite overpowering. You can also use the Ghost Pepper flakes to infuse some color and flavor in your cooking oils.
For a richer flavor, you may want to pick the smoked version of the Ghost Pepper chili flakes. If pure heat is your main focus, regular chili flakes may be the best choice. This basic guideline is applicable to all other Ghost Chili Pepper products as well.
Choose Magic Plant Farms for All Your Ghost Pepper Needs
Magic Plant Farms is a leading provider of pepper products based out of Tennessee, with full GMP and HACCP certification. All our pepper ingredients and products are sorted and inspected in US-based facilities to ensure the highest quality and safety standards.
Our selection includes over 40 exotic chili cultivars from around the globe, grown and harvested at our own farming facilities. We offer a wide range of Ghost Chili pepper products like dried whole pods, flakes, powder, and pepper mash.
All our Ghost Pepper products are available to ship from our TN facility within 24 hours of order confirmation. It doesn’t matter if you are a retail customer or a business enterprise – our state-of-the-art global supply chain is designed to ensure on-time delivery all year round.
We are the leaders in the international exotic chili pepper market. From the sourcing, processing, packaging, and delivery of our products, we aspire to maintain the highest quality control standards throughout the supply chain. To learn more about our products, fill out this online contact form.