Some Like It Hot: What Is A Ghost Chili?

What is a ghost chili? Naga Jolokia…I’ll explain…
I love the show Man v. Food on the Travel Channel. The show, which stars Adam Richman, a self proclaimed food fanatic, travels across the country in search of eating challenges at restaurants big and small. Adam eats all kinds of crazy things in the challenges; a 6 lb. fritatta, a 10 lb. stuffed pizza, 180 oysters…you get the idea. Sometimes man wins the challenge; sometimes the food beats the man. It’s an awesome show and I love watching it. My favorite challenges are the ones in which he has to eat spicy things…usually chicken wings drenched in hotter-than-hell sauces with names like “Devil’s Blood”, Ludicrous Wings, Atomic Hot Wings, etc. Watching this show is what first made me ask the question: What is a ghost chili?
Anyways, I think I love those challenges so much because I love spicy things. I’m talking nose-running, eyes-tearing-up, need-to-drink-milk spicy things. Before I had the kids, I loved spicy hot salsas, spicy hot sauces, HOT, HOT, HOT! Extra jalapenos on nachos? Yes please! Tabasco on my pizza, popcorn, or eggs? Yep. Since having the kids, my mouth just can’t handle the heat the way it used to. Chili powder, cayenne pepper, and crushed red peppers are still staples in my cooking repertoire but I just don’t use as much. Except Tabasco. I still loves me some Tabasco.

If you know anything about peppers, then you know that the heat from the peppers is measured by the Scoville rating scale:

When some people think “Tabasco pepper” they think HOT. Like me and hubby, the majority of my family also likes spice, and regularly use Dave’s Insanity Sauce to heat things up. If you look on the chart above, Tabasco Sauce is rated at 2,500 – 5,000 Scoville units…a jalapeno pepper is just a bit spicier than that. You know where Dave’s Insanity Sauce ranks? At 180,000 Scoville units! Now that is HOT!!

What Is A Ghost Chili?

Why am I telling you all of this? Because on Man v. Food, we have been hearing a lot about the hottest pepper on the planet – the Naga Jolokia….also known as the ghost pepper, ghost chili, or cobra chili. Wanna know where it ranks? 1 Million Scoville Units! That is f-ing hot, right?!
So we got the brilliant idea that we should buy some seeds and plant them. Grow ghost chilis. Why? For the novelty? Maybe. To actually eat them? No way in hell. Not me anyways. My dad and hubby might give it a shot. But we just wanna see if we can grow them.
I ordered the seeds, which were about seven bucks for fifteen of them, through eBay. All of these types of seeds are shipped from Thailand. These little seeds, that look like crushed red peppers, came with warnings! Do not handle seeds without wearing protective gloves. Do not handle seeds and then touch your face. Do not put seeds in your mouth. Do not plant where children or animals can get them. Eating them can be harmful and can cause damage to your digestive system.
So I donned my gloves and planted them in small pots. They are now sitting in 3 little pots behind the shutters of a window in my kitchen. Above the sink. Where Tater doesn’t know they are. And where he couldn’t get to them if he tried. We’ll see if they grow. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Crazy? Yes. Stupid. Absolutely! But we want to see how hot these little peppers actually are. We figure if we cut just a tiny piece of one and pop it in some salsa, we’ll know!


  1. Definitely have to vlog that when someone tries it. My husband loves insanely hot things too. He always says it isn't spicy unless it makes you sweat.
  2. Nina @ Momma Go Round says:
    Haha that's awesome! My father and bro in law are like you...if they're not sweating, it's not hot enough. Can't wait to see if they grow!
  3. I was totally going to say what Emmy said! You have to video tape it!! It just looks hot hanging there all "innocent like"!!

    I wonder what it would do if an animal ate it...say one of my too many cats??
  4. cool. I can also go as hot as tabasco. but I have a friend who would be ALL over that!
  5. Allyson & Jere says:
    Well, now I'm on to you. You are officially insane! This is news to me.

    I have the MOST wussy mouth EVER!!! I can barely do mild salsa for the love of all. So i just can NOT imagine you and your heat lovin lips.

    Good luck with pepper growing.
  6. Lindsay {Designer Wife} says:
    OK, I completely LOVE that show as well and I'm mildly jealous that you're growing these - totally wish I'd have had that idea. ;)

    Excited to see how they turn out. I can't lie - I would be ever so slightly tempted to try just a little nibble of one..... but I know I would chicken out, haha.

  7. blueviolet says:
    I love spicy, but you? You're just off the charts crazy! ;)
  8. Paul and Kerry says:
    I am not a spicy girl at all. 2 stars for Thai food is hot for me. you guys are nuts!
  9. Funky Mama Bird says:
    I love the fact that you are growing these just to see if you can. Brilliant.

    When I was younger, I used to make jalepeno brittle, like peanut brittle but spicy. Mmm... Spicy candy...
  10. I like hot and spicy but I'm not sure I could hang with you! ;)
  11. I LOVE Dave's Insanity sauces. We really are BFFs!

    But growing ghost peppers? You've got more balls than I do.
  12. MommaKiss says:
    Sometimes I like it so hot my brows sweat. But then I pay for it the next day. Yah. I went there.
  13. I like it hot, but not THAT hot!!!

    I can't bear to watch Man v. Food anymore. I fear he will die of a heart attack during one episode or will have to quit the show to go on The Biggest Loser.
  14. OH, I love the hot but the ghost pepper? That scares me. lol.
  15. I got heart burn just from reading this, lol.
  16. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    See that waaaaayyyy on the bottom of the scale? That's me.

    Can't. Do. Heat.

  17. An Imperfect Momma says:
    I love Man vs. Food! Its my favorite show and I love the times when he does the spicy challenges too.

    I love me some spicy stuff! The spicier the bettah I say. I got it from my dad who will try anything spicy. Anything. Ghost pepper? Not so sure about that. Good luck there
  18. Gabriele Agustini says:
    I just came across your blog and I LOVE it!!
    Spicy - not so much.
    Thanks for sharing,
  19. I love that show, especially when he's sweating and dying over those hot peppers!! I love that you grew them, and I KNOW someone will eat them. They would be wonderful with a few Mexican beers, got any left over?
  20. Sharlene T. says:
    I used to love Tabasco Sauce on my morning eggs and will go pretty high on the heat; but, like Paula Deen, I'm at an age, now, where I don't want my food to attack me... I just want to enjoy my meal... please keep us posted on these little darlings and, by all means, vlog it!... come visit when you can...
  21. I am with you..I love spicy but not that spicy! Can't wait to hear who tries it!
  22. i think it's awesome you ordered and planted those seeds!

    this chart is actually quite helpful and timely. we made pico (my burning hands) and it really got too spicy to eat. it contained both serrano and jalapeno, and we assumed it was the jalapeno that was so spicy.

    but now i know serranos are WAY Spicier!!!
  23. Despite my Indian heritage I am an embarassment to my culture because I cannot handle anything spicy! My dad bites into red chilis like they are brownies. It baffles me.

    I once touched a pepper and then my eye. I no longer touch peppers!

    PS - Just saw your vaccuuming was too cute.
  24. MamaOnDaGo says:
    I enjoy watching Man vs Food. Adam doesn't seem to be looking to good lately. Hmm, do you think it has to do with his eating habits?
    I love me some spicy food. Spicy Mexican food was what I craved most during my first pregnancy. I
    I'm not sure about these peppers. Sounds crazy! It sounds painful going down and possibly coming out. Yikes.
  25. Pumpkin and Piglet says:
    My Dad and husband are the same, the hotter the better and if there's no sweat then it's not hot! I used to love spicy food but, like you, since I was pregnant I just can't handle it any more. I know this but the problem is I forget, try and eat like I used to and then end up drinking a pint of milk to calm things down!

    Good luck with the seeds, I'll be interested to know how they are coming along.
  26. Great post and I love the chart you shared. I love hot too, but not that hot. i went to India in the late 80's and accidently ate a hot pepper and I was done for the night. Milk and bread did nothing to help elliviate the incredible pain. Time was the only thing on my side.
  27. We all love spicy things in my house, too, but those might be a little too much even for us! My boys fav meal is my buffalo chicken pasta!

    Yes, we need a vlog if anyone tries those.
  28. redriverpak says:
    If I hear blood curdling screams over the horizon...I will know it is you and the husband self-combusting! :)
  29. OOOOOOOMG!!!! NATALIE!!!! I love that show, too! But I can't BELIEVE that you planted those peppers! I'm LOVING that! HOLY COW! I could NEVER try them. I think I'm a big ol'power hot girl ... turns out - I'm so so weak - caving with hot salsa!!! Keep us posted if anyone braves these peppers - yikes - my eyes are watering just typing about the possibility!!!
  30. Sippy Cup Mom says:
    So awesome and can't wait to hear more! I love Man vs. Food and don't you wish he would shed some layers when he is eating those spicy foods? He always looks like he is dying! ;-)
  31. The Flying Chalupa says:
    Dang, I never would've guessed you were a spice hound! Love the ambition of growing the hottest pepper and trying it. I agree w/ the others - vlog!
  32. DIAPERS in the DESERT says:
    When I was preggers... umm last year. Crap I have an almost one year old.... I was obsessed with that show. I was mentally planning a road trip, I wanted to try all of the challenges (minus the spicey- your braver than I). The road trip never happened. Maybe- one day.
  33. Hubs made some dinner last week with a pepper (from our farm share) that he "tasted" the end of and decided it was a regular pepper. Not so much! We had to whip up a last minute dinner for the little one and the only flavor I tasted all night was burning. Here's hoping you don't get a mix up.
  34. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    OMG I can't wait to read the post when someone eats that thing. I like a little spice but jalapenos and serranos are about as hot as I go. I'm always joking with my husband because he loves hot. The salsa is never spicy enough for him. So I made some the other day that I thought would be guaranteed to burn out his colon. How is it? I asked.'s okay, he said. I wanted to KILL him!! Ship me one of those peppers. I'm gonna put it in my next batch. Mwahahahahaah!
  35. Alyson -- Common Sense, Dancing says:
    LIke the rest, I'm awaiting the part II of this post!

    And, wow, imagine planting something that requires a hazmat suit to manage!!!

    I'll just stick with good ol' cayenne and Chalupa sauce, thanks.
  36. Sounds fantastic... and INSANE!!! I indubitably wouldn't touch those!!!!


  1. [...] Remember last summer’s post about the hottest pepper in the entire world? The Ghost Chili? My Dad and my husband both thought it would be cool to grow them…apparently, they’re [...]