Hot Ones with Sean Evans has become one of the most loved shows of all time. Breaking the traditional interview format, the YouTube show incorporates 10 hot sauces, the heat levels of which ramp up as the conversation proceeds. The physical challenge of eating spicy wings creates a shared experience between the host and guests that opens up a deeper, more personal dialogue, eliminating any chance of performance by the celebrities and leaving a palpable and literal burning realness. But even though the spice element is the USP of the show, watching the guests be consistently blown away by Sean's research-based, authentic and masterful interviewing skills is what makes it so beloved by its fans.
Hot Ones introduced its lineup for season 20 this year and on the the list was the Brooklyn Delhi Ghost Pepper Sauce. Created by Chef Chitra Agrawal, the hot sauce is a tribute to her Indian-American identity. Inspired by Indian achars, Chitra created this Ghost Pepper Sauce as a blend of savoury tomato, tamarind, and a homemade masala mix. The tang of tomatoes and the long-lasting heat of the famed Northeast-Indian Bhut Jolokia give the sauce its bold and complex flavour profile, showcasing the versatility and creativity of Indian cuisine.
Watch Sean Evans introduce the hot sauce below.
Bhut Jolokia pepper, also known as the ghost pepper, is an interspecific hybrid chilli pepper native to the Northeastern region of India. It has been used in traditional cuisines of the region for centuries and is a key ingredient in many local dishes, including pickles, chutneys, and curries. In recent years, the Bhut Jolokia pepper has gained international recognition for its extreme heat. It was certified as the world's hottest chili pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007, with a Scoville rating of 1,041,427. This has led to increased demand for the pepper, both for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Apart from culinary uses, Bhut Jolokia pepper has an important cultural significance in Northeast India. Naga tribes, who live in the state of Nagaland, consider the pepper as sacred and it is an essential part of their culture. They believe that the consumption of this pepper brings good luck, prosperity, and wards off evil spirits. During the Hornbill Festival, a major cultural event in Nagaland, Bhut Jolokia pepper is used in various competitions and games, including eating competitions. It is also a key ingredient in the traditional Naga warrior’s diet, as it is believed to boost their strength and stamina.
The inclusion of the Brooklyn Delhi Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce to the Hot Ones lineup points to the rising interest in exotic flavours by foodies around the world. Driving away from the reductive "Indian food is spicy" narrative as if it was just a single entity, the spotlight on Bhut Jolokia is a chance to showcase the diversity, flavours, and indigenous culinary heritage of our country to a global audience.