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The Ghost Spice

The fiery chilli from the northeast, bhut jolokia, is pirouetting across noveau menus with peckish pizzazz

If you thought the notorious bhut jolokia always needed to be served up with fire extinguishers, think again. From lacing risottos, dips, mayonnaise, to spicing up drinks and lending even desserts a whacky edge, here is a tell-all on the yum spice that is famously known as the world’s third spiciest chilli. At The Wine Rack in mid-town Mumbai, executive chef Himanil Khosla spins a flavourful, mildly spiced ditty with the traditional pepper. “I use this chilli in one of my signature dishes: the Goan pork sausage risotto with bhut jolokia and pecorino.

I believe that the use of chilli is a very misguided affair. People often use it just for one aspect—to increase the hotness of a dish—without paying much attention to the natural flavour,” he shares. “The process I follow before using them is fairly simple: I soak the dried bhut jolokia overnight. This helps to bring in a more balanced flavour in the chillies and also makes them easier to use in the kitchen. After this, I de-seed the chilli and fine mince it. Then I sauté it in butter to extract the robust flavour. This butter is what I use in the preparation of the risotto. The ghost use of the ghost chilli gives it the perfect balance between spiciness and flavour,” explains Khosla.

Shilpi Madan for New Indian Express

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