Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Lush Food #4

Adventures With Chillies - Part 3

It might have been a few years since I last visited this already-infrequently visited subject here at Red Parsley but my pursuit and enjoyment of spicy food has not been diminished. Quite the opposite in fact - I'm probably more watchful than ever, always hoping to find something I haven't tried before, be that a hot curry, a new chilli sauce, or actual chillies themselves, and just recently I had some luck.

I usually check the chilli section of any supermarket I find myself in, even if it an exercise in futility, more often than not. Sometimes I'm greeted by the welcome sight of Bird's Eye chillies, occasionally I'm fortunate enough to find some Scotch Bonnets, and once I even found what I was told were Naga Viper peppers (though I now doubt this), but this has been the extent of my discoveries. Until, that is, a few months ago when I saw in my local Tesco store a small packet containing some red chillies I hadn't seen before. They were apparently called 'Komodo Dragon' chillies and their packaging warned that they were hot, but was otherwise unremarkable in any way. They didn't need to twist my arm though, so I bought two packs!

I thought they would just be a branded version of Scotch Bonnets or Habeneros or something to be honest, which would be welcome though unremarkable, but I swiftly put them to use anyway. Back when I made my previous post on this subject I was cooking my own meals quite often but lately, as a result of some remarkably cheap options (as well as laziness I guess!) I've mainly been having takeaways.

To this end, my new chillies, along with a few more of the Bird's Eye variety, were copiously added to a pizza I bought. Upon consuming this pizza, however, I noticed a substantially greater amount of scorching than I was expecting. Intrigued, I decided to look into these initially-unspectacular-seeming fruits in more detail. As I mentioned in another previous post, and as connoisseurs of spicy food probably will already know, chilli hotness is measured in 'Scoville' units - weedy examples like Jalapeños tip the scales at around 5,000 SHU's (Scoville Heat Units), for instance, while hotter chillies like Scotch Bonnets weigh in at around 300,000 SHU's. When I looked up the fairly innocent-looking Komodo Dragons, however, I was a little started to find them even higher on the scale. A lot higher.

Indeed, according to various online articles I found, these newcomers hit up to 1.4 million SHU's. By the beard of Zeus that's hot! It actually puts them among the very hottest chillies in the world, exceeding the much-fabled Naga Viper and topped only (currently) by the 7-Pot Douglah, varieties of Trinidad Scorpions, and the superbly-named Carolina Reaper which breaches the 2 million barrier for the first time.

This went some way to explaining why my pizza melted my tongue and made me drink about a million gallons of water! Suffice to say, upon finding this I felt a mixture of pride and surprise - pride that I'd handled them without too much of an issue, and surprise that a mere high-street supermarket would even sell chillies of this power. Subsequent research reveals the same retailer also sold something they called a 'Super Naga' a few years back though, and another trip there just a couple of days ago revealed an even bigger surprise, but more on that next time. As far as this discovery goes... it was a most welcome one but I'm somewhat surprised Tesco didn't make more of a fuss about it. I mean, it's one of the hottest chillies ever - you'd think they would at least mention that on the packaging!

But no, aside from "Eye-wateringly hot" written in small inconspicuous letters on the packet, there's no reason to think they aren't just Scotch Bonnets or something, as as I did. But that's okay I guess, it just made them more of an unexpected treat, and one that has been repeated many times over the last few months. So now, I'll just leave you to revel in their majesty and ferocity too.


  1. All hail the chili king! Are the Komodo's a one-off, or always available? I hope you've seen the Simpsons episode featuring 5-alarm chili.... :)

    1. I'm not sure but I saw some today so their availability appears to be ongoing at least :) I don't recall the Simpson's episode you speak of I'm afraid...