If you're a fan of all things fiery when it comes to your gastronomy, then you'll love this list of the hottest chillies to set your tongue on fire. Before my partner and I got together, I was something of a chili virgin. I couldn't stand anything hotter than a bell pepper. Then he introduced me to the fiery world of chillies and their food flavoring properties. If you've ever seen Adam Richman on Man V Food, you'll be astounded by the way in which no challenge is too big or too fiery for the guy, (surely he must have stomach ulcers by now!)
The pungency or 'heat' of the chili is measured using the Scoville scale, which was devised in 1912 by American pharmacist Wilbur Lincoln Scoville. He created a test in which he was able to rank the 'heat' of the chili based on its concentration of capsaicinoids (the substance which makes the chili hot). Bell peppers for example, register zero on the scale. Now, I'm no match for The Richman, even though my tolerance levels seem to have increased over the past few years, but here are some of the hottest chillies I have yet to try.
Thought to be one of THE hottest chillies, to say it's exceptionally hot would be something of an understatement. This measures between 1,569,300 and 2,200,000 on the Scoville scale and was rated the hottest chili pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012.
Measuring more than 1.2 million Scoville heat units, this is another fiery beast of a chili to add to your cooking. These beautiful red chilies are native to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago and they have a sweet and hot flavour, according to those brave enough to try it!
Also known as the Ghost Chili pepper, this used to be considered the hottest chili and there are a number of videos on You Tube of people trying to take the Ghost Pepper challenge. Measuring between 855,000 and 1,041,427 scoville units, this is one chili I will not be adding to my dishes any time soon.
Up to 113 times hotter than your jalapeño, this is another chili I will not be adding to my chili con carne! This pepper used to be known as the hottest chili until it was superseded by the Ghost Chili and it measures between a more modest but still murderous-to-the-mouth 350,000 and 577,000 Scoville units.
These are mainly found in the Caribbean islands and it is known as the Ball of Fire in Guyana. And for good reason too, as it measures between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville units. It has quite a sweet flavor but this doesn't detract from the intense heat. They are used in a lot of West African, Jamaican and Barbadian cuisines.
In Swahili, this chili is known as pili-pili, which literally means "pepper-pepper" and is a generic term for any African chile. There are many varieties and its 'kick' largely depends on the variety as well as where it is grown. The Ugandan variety of Birdseye chili for example, is thought to be the most fiery, measuring up to 175,000 Scoville Heat Units.
We've all heard of the sauce and chances are, you have a little bottle of it sitting in your pantry. My partner smothers this on just about anything - maybe that says something about my cooking! These bright red peppers rate from 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units and instead of being dry on the inside like most peppers, they're moist.
The Spanish translation of this chili means "treelike." They're beautiful little red chiles and are thought to be derived from the cayenne pepper. Registering around 50,000-65,000 on the Scoville heat unit scale, they're more than just a fiery chili, as their aesthetically pleasing brightness and luster makes them also ideal for use in art and craft work.
Named after the mountainous regions in Mexico around which it can be found, this is a popular pepper in Mexican cooking. It notches up around 10,000 to 25,000 Scoville units so it's relatively mild in comparison to come of the hottest chilies on this list but far hotter than the jalapeño. They produce around 180,000 tons of these peppers every year, which is testament to their popularity. This pepper is typically eaten raw and has a unique flavor, which makes it ideal for salsas and my favorite fresh spicy salsa salad of them all, pico de gallo.
Is anyone out there a fan of fiery food? Have you tried one of these chillies and lived to tell the tale? Is anyone out there a budding Adam Richman? I want to know about your dalliances with these fiery little devils!
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