Ghost Chilli sauce:
The other day my boyfriend got excited, and told me he was going to make hot sauce with some of the hottest chillies in the world. We’re not just talking about a Jalapeno here… We’re talking about Habaneros and the dreaded Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost pepper!
To put this into perspective, a Jalapeno is rated around 3,500 on the chilli scoville (hotness) scale, a Habanero jumps to between 200-500,000, and the Ghost chilli weighs in around the million mark. Check out this awesome chart below.
But why am I writing about this on a health and wellbeing blog?
Well unbelievably, hot chillies are really good for you as they contain high quantities of capsaicin.
So what is capsaicin, and why is it so good for us?
Capsaicin is the active component of chilli peppers that is responsible for their heat, and there is some serious heat in the ghost pepper chillies.
According to Dr Perricone (Oprah’s heath specialist), here are a few fantastic benefits of capsaicin.
- Headache help: Substance P is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. In fact, Substance P is the body’s main mechanism for producing swelling and pain throughout the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the head, temple and sinus cavity. When the nerve fibers come in contact with Substance P, they react by swelling—an effect that yields headaches and sinus symptoms. Clinical studies have shown that capsaicin, a compound in hot peppers, is extremely effective for relieving and preventing cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.
- Arthritis relief: People suffering from arthritis pain typically have elevated levels of Substance P in their blood and in the synovial fluid that bathes their joints. Research has shown that eating foods that contain capsaicin or applying a topical cream that contains capsaicin can suppress Substance P production.
- Capsaicin as spicy sinus soother: Capsaicin also possesses powerful antibacterial properties, and is very effective in fighting and preventing chronic sinus infections (sinusitis). This purely natural chemical will also clear out congested nasal passages like nothing else and is helpful in treating sinus-related allergy symptoms. Small daily doses of capsaicin have even been shown to prevent chronic nasal congestion.
- Capsaicin as anti-inflammatory: In recent years, researchers discovered that capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory, and have even pinpointed how it works to fight chronic, sub-clinical inflammation. The nuclei of human cells contain chemicals called nuclear transcription factors (NTFs), two of which—activator protein 1 (AP-1) and NF-kappa B—are especially important targets when it comes to prevention of cancer and premature aging of skin. Each of these NTFs can be “activated” by ultraviolet light and free radicals: a result that produces a pro-inflammatory chain reaction that promotes premature aging and a wide variety of degenerative diseases. As it turns out, nature offers several effective NTF-activation blockers, including the capsaicin in chillies and the yellow pigment curcumin in turmeric.
- Gastric relief: A recent study on gastric disorders at Duke University showed capsaicin may actually lead to a cure for certain intestinal diseases. The Duke team found that a specific nerve cell receptor appears to be necessary to initiate the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a general term given to a variety of chronic disorders in which the intestine becomes inflamed—resulting in recurring abdominal cramps, pain and diarrhea. The cause of IBD is unknown, and it is believed that up to 2 million Americans suffer from this disorder.
Learn More About Dr. Perricone’s Superfoods here – http://www.oprah.com/health/Hot-Peppers-Dr-Perricones-Superfood-No-7-Superfood
What happened next, was quite comical. My boyfriend emerged with a doctor’s mask, and rubber gloves, saying he was ready to cook. He also proceeded to tell me that I should wait in the other room, as the chilli will likely burn my eyes… I laughed, but keen not to lose my eyesight I listened, and then made myself busy until the sauce was ready to be eaten.
A few hours later, he was like a giddy as a schoolgirl, saying that the sauce was ready to try.
He went first and started hiccupping like a mad man, and exclaimed “Geeeeeeez that’s hot”. I was up next; spoon in hand, ready to be blown away. I knocked back the sauce, and was hooked! It was indeed hot, but not stupidly hot. It gave me a rush, and I instantly felt a euphoric sensation sweep over me. I HAD to try more, and more and more!
So if you are in need of an endorphin rush, here is the recipe…
Please note, this isn’t a recipe for those of you who can’t handle the heat.
***Warning! The oils from the chilli will burn your skin, so please use gloves when handling and DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE OR EYES!
8 Habanero chillies ***
3 Ghost peppers ***
2 Red capsicums
5 Ripe tomatoes
3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
250 Mls of Apple cider vinegar
*** Habaneros and Ghost peppers can be found in winter in Melbourne at specialists, including the Prahran Market, Toscano’s.
1) Prick the eggplant, and then rub the skin with a little olive oil. Place over the burner on the stove, or flame on the BBQ, and grill until charred on all sides, and cooked in the middle. This will take about 10 minutes, and you should turn throughout this time to make sure it’s cooked evenly. Cool, and then peel.
2) Do the same with the red capsicums. Cool and peel.
3) CAREFULLY toast the chilli’s over the flame in the same way you’ve done with the capsicum. However I highly recommend you use gloves, and a breathing mask, as the oils from the chillies will burn your skin, and also make you cry if you breath them in. You DO NOT want to touch your face with these on your fingers! Once the chillies have a decent char to them, carefully peal the skin off, and remove the seeds, and stems, as these are the hottest part (If you’re a little chilli mad, you can always keep these in, but it will be stupidly hot).
4) Cut the limes in half, and fry on a pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes until caramalised.
5) Combine the carrots, garlic, and pear and slowly sauté in a little olive oil until soft, and the natural sugars start to come out. About 10 minutes.
6) Roughly chop the tomatoes, and place them into a jug, and blend with a bar mix. Alternatively if you’ve got a powerful blender use this. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7) Add the cooked eggplant, capsicum, caramalised lime juice, cooked carrot, pear, garlic, and chillies into the tomatoes, and blend to combine. Again be carefully of splashes here, as you don’t want to get this in your eyes!
8) Pour into a large saucepan, and add the apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.
9) Bring to the boil, place the lid on, reduce heat, and simmer for around 2 hours.
10) Once cooked, carefully pour in hot into sterilised bottles. If you sterilize the bottles correctly the sauce will last up to 6 months. Alternatively you can also use fresh vinegar bottles, as these will assist with preserving the sauce, and should last a few months. It’s also cheaper to buy cheap vinegar bottles than regular sauce bottles, so I recommend this!
Once cooled, this sauce is a great addition to an array of foods. Including soups, scrambled eggs, meat and fish dishes.