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Cookbook of the day – Hotter Than Hell

Hotter Than Hell

Hotter than Hell: hot and spicy dishes from around the world

by Jane Butel

Publisher: HP Trade; Revised edition (August 1, 1994)

ISBN 10: 1557880964

ISBN 13: 978-1557880963

This is one of the original “spicy foods” cookbooks. Butel was a pioneer in the field and this cookbook is a foundation volume.

She tends to limit the heat in her recipes, so you won’t even see a mention of habañero, even in the chile guide. But you’ll find many useful recipes that can spice up your kitchen portfolio. Her chile con queso is particularly noteworthy. You’ll also find some recipes that don’t seem to be all that spicy because they are designed to complement spicy fare.

This was a groundbreaking work that anyone who has a taste of fire should have in their library.

Get a sneak peek at the book here:


Hottest chile pepper in the world

And no, it’s not the habanero. No, it’s not the Red Savina, a special variety of the habanero specially bred to be especially hot and the previous top dog.

No, dear friends, it’s the Naga Jolokia, from the home of some fiery cuisine, India. The name translates as king cobra chile. And for good reason, because this pepper has some serious bite.

Let’s put this in perspective. Experts use the Scoville scale. Pure capsaicin, the ingredient that makes a chile pepper hot, is between 15,000,000 and 16,000,000 units. A fresh jalapeño (not the pickled kind) has somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 – 10,000 units. A habañero and its kissing cousin, Scotch bonnet has between 100,000 and 350,000 units. The Red Savina has between 350,000 and 580,000. A cayenne has 30,000 – 60,000 units. The fiery Thai bird pepper has 50,000 – 150,000 units. Police pepper spray has around 5,000,000 units.

A Naga Jolokia has between 855,000 – 1, 050,000 units.

No, that’s not a misprint.

855,000 – 1,050,000.

Chile peppers of the same variety can vary according to the climate (water and heat from the sun). That’s why you’ll generally see a range and you’ll see different figures quoted from different sources. Different testing facilities get different results over time. Yes, there are people who test these things. One of them is the India Armed forces, who initially tested the Naga Jolokia at 855,000. It was up to another chili expert to get the larger figure, which was the first pepper test found to exceed a million units.

If you think that the habanero is a killer, the Naga Jolokia is about twice as hot!