|Species||C. chinense, C. frutescens|
|Scoville scale||1,000,000 to 1,598,227 SHU|
The Naga Chili, closely related to the Bhut jolokia, is a chili pepper cultivated in Bangladesh and North East India. It is mostly very similar to Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost Chilli. In the UK it is called Dorset Naga which is originally from Bangladesh. It is one of the hottest known chilli peppers.
Like many varieties of the Chinense species, the Naga Chili is a small to medium shrub with large leaves, small, five-petaled flowers, and blisteringly hot fruit. It differs to the Bhut Jolokia and Bih Jolokia in that the pods are slightly smaller with a pimply ribbed texture as opposed to the smoother flesh of the other two varieties.
The plants are cultivated in North East India, especially in Nagaland and Manipur, thus the origin of the name "Naga", and Bangladesh. They are also grown in the United States, United Kingdom (as subspecies Dorset Naga) and Australia for the production of hot sauces, and in Finland, where it is mainly sold fresh in supermarkets. It is also available in West Africa.
The Naga Chili is extremely hot, but has a flavor that is quite unique.[clarification needed]
Many specialists say that the Naga Chili is as spicy as Rafi and like the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper), it has a sweet and slightly tart flavor, followed by slight undertones of woody, smoky flavors. The chili is traditionally used green by the Bangladeshis, often eaten raw as a side dish. It is well suited for BBQ and grilling due to its unique flavor profile.
Annually, since 2005, the heat level of Dorset Naga has been tested, taking samples from different sites, various seasons, and states of maturity. The heat level has ranged from 661,451 SHUs for green fruit in 2007, up to 1,032,310 SHUs for ripe fruit harvested in 2009.
High as the results were, the BBC's Gardeners' World television programme recorded a much higher heat level for Dorset Naga. As part of the 2006 programming, the BBC gardening team ran a trial looking at several chili varieties, including Dorset Naga. Heat levels were tested by Warwick HRI, and the Dorset Naga came in at 1,598,227 SHUs, one of the hottest heat levels ever recorded for a chili.
- "The Scoville Scale". Pepper Information. Chilipepper.com. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "Some Like It Hot: Dorset's Ultra-Hot Chillies". Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Dorset Naga". Dorset Naga. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Gardening: 20 October 2006". bbc.co.uk. London: BBC. 20 October 2006. Gardeners' World's hottest chillies. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2012.