THE BHUT JOLOKIA FIRST CAME TO MY ATTENTION IN 2007, when Guinness World Records crowned it “world’s hottest chili pepper” (though it’s since been deposed by another). Certified at well over 1,000,000 Scoville heat units, the fruit from this plant is 125 times hotter than the spiciest jalapeño.

At the time, tracking down seed stock for the pepper was a challenge. I was lucky enough to have a friend of a friend who worked for New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute (

These days, seeds can be purchased from online retailers or from private growers on Amazon and eBay. There are even “just ...

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