Alibi V.16 No.48 • Nov 29-Dec 5, 2007 


Riding the Ghost Chile

Just last year, some mad hot pepper professor stumbled upon the Bhut Jolokia, now nicknamed the ghost chile. Subsequent lab tests have revealed that the little bastard is officially the hottest chile pepper in the world with nearly double the amount of Scoville heat units as the habañero. Apparently, the ghost chile is a naturally occurring species native to Northeastern India, where it's not unusual to use it as a weapon. Armies in India and Myanmar use ghost chiles to make tear gas. It’s also not unusual to gnaw on one between bites at the dinner table.

We think this is nuts. We know because we obtained a bag of the things and spent a Friday night passing a pepper around the room just barely licking it or, at the most, nibbling on it. (This is also about the time we lamented the fact that “chile in my eye” was not an easily searchable phrase on the Internet).

So, after careful consideration, we came up with one simple recipe recommendation for you real chile heads out there: a ghost chile syrup we’re calling "Ghost Killah." Now, you won’t find this pepper in your neighborhood store just yet, but don’t fret. You can order bags of them (seriously) from the Chile Pepper Institute: (505) 646-3028. But be prepared for the sting—they run more than $30 a pound!

Ghost Killah

Serve this hot and sweet syrup with fresh fruit or baked goods.


2 cups agave nectar
1 ghost chile

1) Using latex gloves, slice open the chile and remove all seeds.

2) Put a small saucepan over medium heat and add agave nectar.

3) Toss in chile pieces and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

4) Remove chile and allow syrup to cool before serving.

Soundtrack: Mogwai’s “Acid Food” (off Mr. Beast)