The King Naga is from the Southeast India and Bangladesh region. The King Naga chile plant is the largest of the Naga family. Some Bhut Jolokia pods may get longer but are not as wide or heavy in weight. It’s heat and flavor are similar to the Naga Morich. Average heat between 700,000-800,000 Scoville units. It is a heavy producer of peppers.
The Naga Jolokia was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s hottest chilli measuring in at over 1,000,000 Scoville Units (SCH), [(Scoville Units (SCH)]. To put things into perspective the previous worlds hottest chilli was the Red Savina, it measured in at 577,000 (SCH), most habanero chilli’s range from between 100,000 and 300,000 (SCH). Ripe Naga’s measure 60mm to 85mm long and 25 mm to 30 mm wide with an orange or red color, small, colorful and potent.
Ever since the Naga chilli scorched its way to world fame as the hottest chilli in the world, dethroning the selectively bred Red Savina, it has been the hot favourite of cooks and foodies. But there’s much more to the Naga chilli, also known as the Naga jolokia and Raja mirch, than its heat. Naga chillies clock in at over one million units on the Scoville scale (the measurement of spicy heat).That’s more than double the spice quotient of the Red Savina pepper.
In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the ghost pepper was the world’s hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce; the ghost chili is rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units (SHUs). Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 SHUs. However, the bhut jolokia was shortly superseded by the infinity chili in early 2011, followed by the Naga Viper, then later the trinidad moruga scorpion in 2012, and finally the “Carolina Reaper” on August 7, 2013.
In 2000, India’s Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of 855,000 SHUs and in 2004 a rating of 1,041,427 SHUs was made using HPLC analysis. For comparison, Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 5000–10,000 and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the pungency of pepper plants) rates at 16,000,000 SHUs.
In 2005, at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute near Las Cruces, New Mexico,[ Regents Professor Paul Bosland found bhut jolokia grown from seed in southern New Mexico to have a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 SHUs by HPLC.
The effect of climate on the heat of these peppers is dramatic. A 2005 study comparing percentage availability of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in bhut jolokia peppers grown in Tezpur (Assam), showed the heat of the pepper is decreased by over 50% in Gwalior’s more arid climate. Elsewhere in India, scientists at Manipur University measured its average Scoville rating by HPLC at only 329,100 SHUs.
Ripe peppers measure 60 to 85 mm (2.4 to 3.3 in) long and 25 to 30 mm (1.0 to 1.2 in) wide with a red, yellow, orange, or chocolate color. The unselected strain of bhut jolokia from India is an extremely variable plant, with a wide range in fruit sizes and fruit production per plant, and offers a huge potential for developing much better strains through selection in the future. Bhut jolokia pods are unique among peppers, with their characteristic shape, and very thin skin. However, the red fruit variety has two different fruit types, the rough, dented fruit and the smooth fruit. The images on this page show the smooth fruit form. The rough fruit plants are taller, with more fragile branches, and the smooth fruit plants yields more fruit, and is a more compact plant with sturdier branches.
Plant height: 45–120 cm (17-47 inches)
Stem color: Green
Leaf color: Green
Leaf length 10.65–14.25 cm
Leaf width: 5.4–7.5 cm
Fruit color at maturity: Red is the most common, with orange, yellow and chocolate as rarer varieties
Fruit shape: Subconical to conical
Fruit length: 5.95–8.54 cm
Fruit width at shoulder: 2.5–2.95 cm
Fruit weight: 6.95–8.97 g
Fruit surface: Rough, uneven or smooth
Seed color: Light tan
1000 seed weight: 4.1–5.2 g
Seeds per fruit: 19–35
King Naga is used as a food and a spice, as well as a remedy to summer heat. It is used in both fresh and dried forms, to not only “heat up” curries, pickles and chutneys, but also to impart two distinct flavors to them. It is popularly used in combination with pork or dried or fermented fish. In northeastern India, the peppers are smeared on fences or incorporated in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants at a distance. The pepper’s intense heat makes it a fixture in competitive chili pepper eating.
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.