Found in the sub-tropical region and temperate climates of the Garo and Khasi hills, the ‘Bhoot Jolokia’, in the Assamese slang or the ‘Raja Mircha’, in Nagamese, the ‘Ghost Chilies’ are officially recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Hottest Chilies of the World’. Even before one thinks of tasting it, the aroma can strike deep into their nostrils, leaving them incapacitated for a moment.
The characteristic red color of the chilies describes the ferocity of its taste.The real odor of the chilly comes from the seeds, which are highly pungent, and can be smelt from a distance of almost 15 feet. The ‘Ghost Chilies’ are among the most exotic delicacies of the North East India.
These chilies form a part of the regular cuisine in the North-East Indian food. In fact, in the Nagamese culture, the Bhoot Jolokia or the Raja Mircha forms a part of the staple diet. The chilies require a semi-tropical climate for growth and the Garo and Khasi hills provide an ideal environment for that.
The seeds are separated from the cover, which are then tempered with dry ash for some time, for preservation. The same seeds can then be planted for growing new plants. The seeds are also used in Pepper Sprays and can be potent enough to take care of the nasty people walking the streets.
On the flip side, it has got very good medicinal properties. It is capable of curing many stomach ailments, when consumed in moderate quantities. These chilies are often used for making the local pickles. Similar varieties are also found in regions near Kalimpong, where I bumped across a local shop which used to make home made pickles of more than 1000 varieties.
A typical variety sells for about Rs.600- Rs.1000 per Kg. They are available in both fresh and dry packets as well as bottles of seeds in preserved manner. However, the seeds could be planted in-house only if the environment typical for their growth can be artificially created.
Well, its time for me to take a try on them. I really do not go for much selfies, but I thought this one would be worth a moment.