THE CHILLI PEPPER IS AN INDISPENSABLE PART OF ASIAN CUISINE. AS ANYONE WHO HAS ACCIDENTALLY EATEN A BIRD’S EYE CHILLI WILL KNOW, SOME VARIETIES CAN BLOW YOUR TOP OFF. HOW HOT IS TOO HOT?
The Scoville scale is the means of measuring how hot a chilli pepper is. It measures the concentration of capsaicin, the chemical compound that produces the heat sensation. The scale was invented by pharmacist Wilbur L. Scoville (1865–1942), and allocates a measurable unit of spiciness, called a Scoville heat unit (SHU). These ratings are determined by the Scoville organoleptic test. Capsaicin oil is extracted from the pepper, and is then incrementally diluted with sugar water. A panel of five (brave!) testers sample the concoction until they can no longer taste the spiciness.it’s not a fool-proof method, as each person has a different taste experience.
The Scovi l l e Scale
Aleppo Pepper At about 10,000 SHU, the Aleppo pepper, also referred to as the Halaby pepper, gets its name from the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria. It is also commonly grown in Turkey. It is usually dried and crushed. Jwala Finger Hot chilli pepper Measuring between 20,000 and 30,000 SHU, the Jwala is one of the most popular chillis in India, and is frequently added to Indian dishes for flavour – and spice. Guntur Sannam chilli pepper Clocking in at 35,000 to 40,000 SHU, the Guntur Sannam chilli is grown in and around Guntur in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Santaka chilli pepper From Japan, the Santaka chili pepper is a hot and flavourful Asian variety. At 40,000 to 50,000 SHU, it is commonly used in stir-fries. Tien Ts in pepper The Tien Tsin is named after the province in China where it was originally harvested. It measures in at between 50,000 and 75,000 SHU. Bird’s Eye chilli At between 50,000 and 100,000 SHU, the tiny bird’s eye chilli is commonly found in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines – but it’s exported all over the world. It’s dynamite in a small package! Jamaican Hot pepper ( 100,000– 200,000 SHU) Native to th e Caribbean Ch i ltepi n ch i l l i pepper ( 50,000– 100,000 SHU) Native to southern North America and northern South America Bas Thai chilli pepper There is no single “Thai chilli pepper”, although most within this family of 79 vie for the title. They are all small and rather hot, at between 50,000 and 100,000 SHU. Dundicut chilli pepper At between 55,000 and 65,000 SHU, these tiny round chilli peppers from Pakistan are similar in size and flavour to the spicy Scotch bonnet pepper, but they are of a different species, and are not quite as hot. Yatsafusa chilli pepper Also known as the Japanese chilli owing to their origins, this 75,000 SHU chilli comes from a small plant with a yellow flower – but don’t let that fool you. They’re as hot as Hades! Tabiche chilli pepper Originally from India, the Tabiche pepper can now be found growing worldwide and often year-round, but it does best in hot, dry climates. It ranges between 85,000 to 115,000 SHU. Scotch bonnet At 100,000 to 350,000 SHU, this pepper is among the hottest peppers anywhere. It appears in the Carribean and in Guyana – and the Maldives. Naga Jolokia ( Ghost Chilli/ Cobra Chilli) This was once the hottest chilli pepper in the world, according to the Guinnessbookofworldrecords. Its origins are in the Assam region of India and neighbouring Bangladesh. With a Scoville rating of over 1 million, it’s not for the faint-hearted!