What is Ghost Pepper/Bhut Jolokia? Brief History & Entymology

What is Ghost Pepper/Bhut Jolokia? Brief History & Entymology

Ghost Peppers-A description.


Ghost Peppers also known as Bhut Jolokia ,Naga Jolokia ,Bih Jolokia is one of the spiciest peppers to be found in the world. These are naturally occurring peppers which are found in the north-eastern states of India especially Assam and some parts of Bangladesh. The taste of these peppers are smoky and almost sweet at first until after thirty to forty seconds when the intense heat creeps up almost like a ghost. Hence the colloquial etymology of ‘Bhut” which means ghost and ‘jolokia’ is the term for pepper or chilli.

These peppers are around three inches long and one inch wide. The shape of the pepper is spherical on the top and pointed towards the end. Even though the most commonly found colour of the Ghost pepper is red ,it comes in a variety of other colours as well such as yellow, orange,  white, brown peach and purple. The different colour the ghost peppers are infused with different flavour along with the hotness. Given below are short descriptions of the various coloured ghost peppers and why they are different from each other-

  • The most well known variety is the red coloured which is also the spiciest.
  • The yellow coloured variety is low on the spice but not very different from the red.
  • The orange coloured variety can be called a smaller version of the red ones and is ideal for making hot sauce. These can however also grow upto 4-5 inches.
  • The white ones with a more off-white tone usually comes with a smooth skin. Even though the taste is similar to most Ghost Peppers it has a slightly citrus taste to it.
  • Brown coloured Ghost Peppers are as hot as the red Ghost Peppers but has a hint of sweetness to it.
  • The Peach ones have a slight fruity taste but there is no compromise in the spice.
  • The purple ones are the smallest variety of Ghost Peppers to be found and the spice is also less in this variety. 

The Hotness meter of the Ghost Pepper. 

The hotness of peppers is measured by a unit called the Scoville Heat Unit(SHU),the hotness of the Ghost Pepper is about a whopping 1,041,427 SHU which became the first ever pepper to have a hotness to measure over a millionth SHU.

The Ghost Pepper is indeed the spiciest pepper to exist but people often mistake it for the hottest pepper in the world but it isn't so. The Ghost Pepper was declared the World’s Hottest Chilli in 2007 and held the title for four consecutive years. At present the hottest chilli is the Carolina Creeper which has a SHU  of about 2,200,00 which is twice the amount of  hotness than the Ghost Pepper. The other peppers which are higher in hotness level is the Trinidad Morgua Scorpio which holds the second position in hotness meter. Currently there are 9 varieties of peppers who rank higher in the hotness meter than the Ghost Pepper namely 7 Pot -Doughlah,7Pot -Primo ,Trinidad Scorpoin” Butch T”, Komado Dragon ,Niga Viper,7Pot- Barrackpore,7Pot -Jonah ,7POT-Infinity,Bedfordshire Super Naga.


The Ghost pepper in Northeastern Cuisine.


The Ghost Pepper remains an essential part of the cuisines prepared in the northeastern states of India. The cuisine of Assam and Nagaland uses the ghost pepper to often flavour non-vegetarian curries and pickles.

The Bhut Jolokia pickle is a pickle which is prepared in the state of Assam uses the ghost pepper mustard oil and some fermented bamboo shoot .Similarly the Bhut jolokia is also used to prepare dishes like the Naga style chicken curry and pork curry. One of the unique ways in which the Ghost Pepper is used as a flavouring agent is now in chocolates to lend chocolates a unique flavour.


Fun Fact about Ghost Peppers.

The Ghost Pepper not many people know apart from being used as a flavouring agent in spicy foods and also to make spicy condiments such as hot sauce is also used as a medicine to treat stomach ailments by gastritis ,arthritis and chronic indigestion.



Keywords:Ghost Peppers,Hotness meter,Northeastern cuisine.


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