Issue 5 - Christmas 2000
Can it get any hotter? Have those thoughts ever crossed your mind while indulging in fiery Vindaloo curry? Well, it appears it can.
Curry fans in India can now sample the Tezpur chilli which wipes the floor with it's Mexican rivals for hotness. The explanation for the hotness of chilli's lies in the concentration of capsaicin, the chemical in chilli's which produces the well-known blast of heat.
However fakers beware. A chilli's heat can be measured by a scale known as the Scoville Scale. So no longer can you disguise that Chicken Korma as an extra hot Jalfrezi. This measurement was devised by scientist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. His original test involved five luckless volunteers sampling sugar solutions containing ground chilli paste and increasing the water concentration until they could no longer detect the chilli burn.
Apart from a hardy few on a night out, this test has been replaced with experiments based on liquid chromatography. However a chilli's hotness is still measured in Scoville units.
Just to give you an idea of the explosive taste of a Tezpur chilli the humble Jalapeno, stable of Mexican cooking scores a chilling 5,000 only. While the Tezpur now officially the world's hottest chilli and 50% hotter than it's nearest rival, scores a stomach blasting 855,000. However it looks like few people will the get the chance to try a special Tezpur curry - Indian scientists are already working on incorporating the chilli into a new tear gas.
Source: The Guardian Magazine
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