The ghost peppers hotter cousin.
Scoville heat units (SHU): 1,000,000 – 1,500,000
Jalapeño reference point: 125 to 600 times hotter
With a venomous bite even more intense than its cousin the ghost pepper, the Naga Morich (also known as the serpent chili and the Dorset Naga*) sits in rarefied air on the pepper scale. Calling it “fiery” would simply be an understatement as only a handful of chilies surpass it. Like with other super-hot peppers, dont handle these chilies raw without taking safety precautions, and if you dare to eat it, be ready for the pain!
How hot is the Naga Morich?
Hailing from the same region of the world, the Naga Morich and the ghost pepper (Bhut Jolokia) are close cousins and very similar in overall heat.
But the Naga Morich beats it out. With a range from 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 Scoville heat units
, only the hottest ghost peppers can compare to the mildest Naga Morich. Really the Naga Morich is more in line with the heat of the Infinity pepper
(1,067,286 to 1,250,000 SHU) and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
(1,200,000 to 2,000,000SHU).
Of course, for most, this is splitting hairs. All peppers are intensely hot at the upper reaches of the Scoville scale. Lets compare it instead to a chili most know – the jalapeño pepper. Compared to this popular medium heat chili, the Naga Morich is at least 125 hotter, with the potential for a throat-scorching 600 times hotter if you compare the mildest possible jalapeño to the hottest possible Naga Morich. Few peppers are hotter, only the likes of the Scorpion pepper and the soul-eating Carolina Reaper.
These super-hots are all chilies that need full safety precautions when preparing. Use gloves, kitchen goggles, and even consider covering your arms. A simple brush against skin can lead to severe chili burn and a lot of uncomfortableness for hours.
What does the Naga Morich taste like? Is there a flavor beyond the heat?
There certainly is, like most super-hots. Its why, beyond crazy pepper eating challenges, these chilies have adventurous eaters so enticed. The Naga Morich, like the ghost pepper – is a slower burn. It takes 30 seconds for your body to start feeling the true heat. Until then, the peppers flavor is front and center. Its sweet, like the ghost pepper, but slightly more fruity (almost floral) and a little less earthy. It makes one mean hot sauce or barbecue marinade, tastily fruity to start and wickedly demonic for minutes after.
*Are Naga Morich and Dorset Naga the same thing?
This is a question that has caused arguments among chiliheads. Technically, they are, but the Dorset Naga is more like an evolution of the original. The Dorset Naga was created in Dorset, England by Joy and Michael Michaud through carefully selecting only the seeds from the best overall Naga Morich plants. Its not a hybrid chili – its more of a super Naga Morich, grown from the best of the best of the crop.
So a Dorset Naga is a Naga Morich. But theres enough name recognition of the Dorset Naga around the world that its hard to argue that its not its own variety, if only due to its singular popularity.