The Naga (or Noga) Jolokia is a spicy pepper and is known under a strikingly wide variety of different names, so for the sake of everyone’s sanity well get those out of the way before talking about the pepper itself. The Naga Jolokia is probably most commonly known as the Ghost Chili Pepper, but also goes by Ghost Pepper, Red Naga, Ghost Chili and various other combinations of these names.
Most people know of the Naga Ghost Chili as the world’s single hottest chili pepper and have at least once heard a story from one of their friends that went like, “So I ate the whole pepper…,” madness shortly thereafter, likely, ensued. On the Scoville scale the Ghost chili rates at over a million, so if Banana Peppers make you cringe these kind of peppers are definitely not for you.
Formerly The World’s Hottest Pepper
Many people believe the Ghost chili to be the world’s hottest pepper, however, this simply is not true. That distinction belongs to the Carolina Reaper – however, the Ghost Chili is still extremely potent and was ranked Third Hottest Pepper in the World by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013. The Naga Ghost Chili derives it’s name from a rather interesting source – that of the Naga Warriors of Northeastern India. The Naga tribes were a fierce and mysterious people whom were greatly feared due to their penchant for headhunting (which they continued to practice well into the 19th century, though, thankfully, they no longer practice the custom today!).
Origins and Uses
The Naga Jolokia can be a bit tough to distinguish from most other spicy peppers due to it’s high genetic variance, especially in the traditional Indian strain. For example, Naga’s can be chocolate brown, red, yellow, orange. So when you are dealing with a fully grown pepper and it’s one of these colors, check the length, it’s it is between 60 mm and 85 mm long (around two and a half to three and a half inches), then you have likely got a Ghost Chili pepper on your hands (and if so don’t wipe your eyes!). In addition to being used as a food spice, the Naga is also used in hand grenades and pepper spray as a nonlethal alternative to a gun by many different military organizations around the world.
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