Naga peppers (a variety of)

Took these photos before and after the rain today.

Took with phone camera, so it’s not the best quality I know :slight_smile:


Beautiful. One of the hottest peppers! Notice the hottest peppers usually have this form.

Do you make condiments or use them in cooking/curries? Yikes. Pretty sure I can’t eat any Sri Lankan dishes if you put just half of this naga chilli in them. I remember @klyeoh on here said he was amazed how spicy the food was in Sri Lanka.

For the hottest ones I only have access to fresh habanero and scotch bonnet. Much prefer the latter (hotter and fruitier). I do have some very hot dried chillies I brought back from Mexico (land of chillies!) every year. But your naga would blow my head off and put me in my place.


Great photos. I too am curious about the use of Naga chiles. I don’t think I have ever tried them.

1 Like

Oh my, those are beautiful. Jealous!

1 Like

Traditionally these peppers are not preserved but increasingly people use them as any other kind of chilli pepper. They dry, and also make chilli powder rarely.
These peppers are super hot. So hot that if you eat it at night you might wake up with a burning stomach. But some people can tolerate it. The funny thing is that some people who work really hard, such as those who carry heavy logs on their shoulders in mountain areas (as transportation up to the truck) easily eat these peppers with rice and curry. I know a guy who eats a pepper in two crunchy bites.
Having said all that, thinly slice a pepper, dip in salt, and deep fry or pan fry with onions, and you will love it. You can’t eat a lot but you will love that taste.
My favourite is: finely grind a chilli with ‘shallot’ onions, Maldive fish, and salt, and add lime. It can be eaten with any food (that suits it) and can be kept in refrigerator for any number of days.
Dried fish fried with Naga chillies is another tasty dish that is popular in Sri Lanka.
But all these are traditional dishes, far from fine dining, although this pepper can be incorporated into fine dishes too.
Now about who grows them. When I was a kid, only the upcountry people used to grow these peppers in home gardens, and eat them. People of other parts of the country hadn’t even seen them sometimes. But today it’s grown everywhere as an export crop. They bring in good money if exported to the Middle East.


Sri Lankan Curries are some of the hottest I have eaten from south Asia. Those Folks can eat Fire! :fire: :grin:


As far as I know they are part of the so-called ghost pepper category. They’re pretty ubiquitous now, at least the use of their name is (sliced supermarket pepper jack cheese now comes in a ghost sub-variety).


It is.
And also Sri Lankans use coconut milk in every meal. Usually if one dish is spicy another would be totally white, mild, cooked in coconut milk. Tourists love chilli hot dishes though. You should see how their faces turn red, start sweating, and still eating them and laughing. And then eating yoghurt. :sweat_smile:

Yes this is ghost pepper. Naga Jolokia. We call them “nai miris” which means ‘cobra pepper.’
What makes them different is the fruity flavour in it.

1 Like

I’ve encountered them preserved in vinegar as well as in oil, as a way to get a more subtle flavor than using as normal chillies would yield. The vinegar or oil is then used as opposed to the chilli itself.

Funny (but not haha) story: I asked my Assamese friend to bring me some Bhut Jolokia when she visited her family there. Her dad went to the market to buy them fresh — I was not expecting fresh, I thought she’d bring back the dried kind you normally get. Fast forward a week to when I met her and she gave me the chillies: she had burns on her fingers. Apparently some of the chillies had become soft and oozed, so when she was transferring them to a bag for me, the juices transferred onto her fingers. So hot, she got blister burns :woman_facepalming:t2: Who knew? Not us, for sure. (My mom carefully dried the rest of the chillies, and I’m still working my way through them almost a decade later!)

I’m my experience, the fruity flavor comes through best when these are slow-cooked rather than used like normal chillies. Even with scant other ingredients, the end dish is complex. One of my favorites is an Assamese / Northeast indian preparation of braised pork and cabbage using the chillies (in my case, just ONE).


I apologize for not mentioning that I was talking about Sri Lankan methods. Increasingly Sri Lankans too preserve them in venegar (I haven’t seen them using oil though). I agree they have subtle flavours that can elevate many dishes.
I don’t cut those chillies bare hand. I use a glove, or place it under an onion skin so the juices won’t burn my fingers.
I don’t know if you can get seeds into your country/state; I can send some seeds by mail, depending on whether the post office here accepts them. Last time they said they need various kinds of certifications to send seeds or plants. I can send seeds from these very chillies no problem.

l almost told the “COME ON ICE CREAM!!” joke but I stopped myself in time.
Kind of.
I like chilis but Naga, Reaper and Ghost are a bit too extreme for me. They rank just below Police Grade Pepper Spray, for goodness sake!


Spray pepper I’ve only heard of, that self defence and crowd control stuff. But I assure you ghost pepper would burn wherever it touched, for hours(exaggerated but it’s a long time). Washing only exacerbates it.
I would love to grow the Carolina Reaper, the genuine one. What I find on eBay and Amazon seem to be some versions of ghost pepper itself. One of my friends said he has it. I must get some seeds.
Reaper must be a ‘watch from a distance only’ kind of pepper. An actual killer.


Ghost peppers, Reapers, Nagas, they just scare me. The amount of burn there is unreal.
I like Thai chilis a lot, I even like the occasional chopped up Scotch Bonnet, even though my first experience with a Scotch Bonnet was a painful one. I thought it was an orange jalapeno so I ate half of one. A lesson learned.
I cook with Thai chilis and so far I haven’t got any of the juice in my eyes even though I do not use gloves when I am cutting and de-seeding them. But I mince them fairly fine and then let them simmer in the curry sauce to spread that heat out a bit. It may not be how good chefs do it, but I find that it works for me. I get the flavor and a little of the heat without overdoing it. I like the way Thai chilis were explained to me. The hot little ones are literally called Mouse Shit Peppers/prik kee noo, because you usually do not see the mouse but you see the “signs” that they have been there. Similarly, prik kee noo chilis are usually so small that you do not see them in the dish but they leave their sign by burning your mouth a bit while delivering that chili flavor.

1 Like

Yes, but the amount of burn when used in food depends entirely on how much chilli is used, and how.

For example, the pork and cabbage dish I mentioned above has a lovely flavor from the chilli (fruity in a different way, as @LastManStanding described), but the heat is in the background (and a slow back heat, not front like a Thai chilli) if I use only one pepper.

My friends use 2 or 3 in the same dish, which for me creates too much heat for the flavor to be detectable / enjoyed, but they have a higher tolerance so it works for them.

When steeping in vinegar, oil, honey, and so on, the duration determines heat vs flavor, in addition to how many chillies are used.

1 Like

I may have told this story before, so stop if me if you have heard this…
When I was in Thailand the first time, there was a woman with a push cart that sold som tom and skewered BBQ chicken. I was out on the beach every morning and she would roll up around 10 am every day. I would get a som tom and watch her work the pestle and mortar, adding a multitude of ingredients, but she always paused part way in with a handful of prik kee noo chilis and nonverbally ask you how many you wanted. I started off with one, then two and I think I got up to 4 after a couple weeks. Outstanding som tom, just delicious. Before I left I asked her how many chilis she put in her own som tom. She burst out laughing, grabbed a handful of prik kee noo and made a bowl of som tom for herself with more than a dozen, maybe 20, chilis. And she squatted next to me and wolfed that incendiary mix down with delight.
It is all what you are used to and, as you say, how you prepare the dish.


Stop! Just kidding :smile:

The thing one sometimes forgets with fresh chilies is that the heat can intensify in leftovers.

I have been rudely surprised many times when I’ve used what I thought was the perfect amount of green chillies (Thai, Indian, or serrano) and eaten the leftovers another day with a burning mouth!

Re your story, it’s a pretty common Indian habit to have whole green chillies served at the table alongside food (to adjust the spice level of the meal, or just because people like the flavor, I don’t know, I’ve never partaken) — my dad ate them regularly when he was younger, and I have a couple of friends who still go get a couple out of the fridge if dinner isn’t spicy enough for them :flushed: Not me…


Prik kee noo is known as kochchi here. I specifically ask if anything has kochchi in it in order to avoid that surprise pop of burn.
@ZivBnd If I ate half a scotch bonnet I will be running around screaming. You reminded me the first time I ate wasabi, the actual wasabi. I ate the amount of half a paracetamol tablet. You can imagine the rest. :sweat_smile:
There’s another thing about ghost pepper. If you slice it and soak it in salt water for a few minutes the heat won’t burn that much. It’s still unbearable but a little bit less when used in a sambal (kind of a mix of raw chillies and onions, salt and lime)
And soaking the pepper slices in salt also changes the flavour. I.e. if you use ghost pepper in a dish and then add salt to taste, to the whole dish in general, it will be a good dish. But if you first soak sliced ghost pepper in salt water, and then add it to the dish, it will be different. In my opinion it is tastier. Lime also reduces the heat of the pepper.
@Saregama I want to preserve a ghost pepper in oil but I only have the ordinary coconut oil. Maybe I should put a pepper in a bit of oil and see how it goes.


Do be careful when preserving in Oil. Just like when making Pickle there are steps that must be followed to ensure that the Food will be safe to eat.

1 Like

^^ Your comment has me thinking.

I dried a couple of fresh Trinidad scorpion peppers that I have hesitated to use because of their reputation for extreme heat. I may try rehydrating one in water and then steeping it in vinegar, adapting this method of making hot sauce from dried peppers. If the result is okay, maybe I could mix a little of the really hot stuff into a less fiery sauce.