Have you heard of ghost chiles? I've also seen them called bhut jolokia and naga jolokia. They're hot. Really hot. Hottest pepper in the world. They come in at about 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale, or 3-10 times hotter than a habañero.
I was lucky enough to get a sample package of fresh ones (only dried have been available until now) from Marx Foods*. I opened the package, and was immediately assaulted by their fragrance - they even smelled hot. I was a little apprehensive - what could I possibly do with a chile that's so strong? Well, first off, I gave a few away to coworkers. (None of the Americans wanted any, so they went to Mexicans, a Laotian, and a Korean.)
I realized I hadn't made Japanese curry in a while, and that sounded like a good (and easy) place to start. Armed with my package of S&B Golden Curry (mild), I chose the smallest pepper in the package.
Aw, how cute. What wasn't so cute was that I could find only one glove. So my knife hand went gloveless. While mincing, a piece of chile touched a cut on my hand. Ow. Burn. Ow. Yikes! Experiencing firsthand what this little monster chile could do, I decided to only use half of it in the curry. I used about 1.3 pounds of pork, and an equal amount of veggies (carrot, celery, green pepper, onion). So 2.5 pounds of stuff, with a piece of chile the size of my fingernail.
And you know what? It was good. Really good. Ghost chiles have an awesome flavor. I could've even added the other half of the chile, and it wouldn't have been too hot. (Husband called this a "3" on the hotness scale.) Maybe it's because it was simmered for a while, maybe because it sat overnight, but the heat definitely mellowed out.
So, experiment #1 with ghost chiles complete and successful. I wonder what's next...
*The chiles were provided free of charge from Marx Foods. I didn't promise to blog about them, and they didn't ask me to.