Security forces in India have a plan to put chile powder in their hand grenades, according to a report last week by Reuters. Not just any chile either: no lame cayenne or ancho weapons for a country that grows the hottest chile peppers in the world. Inside the grenades will be Bhut Jolokia chiles, which have reached a record one million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). By contrast, the previous record holder, the Red Savina, measured only 577,000 SHUs. I see a brave new world of signature pepper sprays.
From the Reuters report: "We are working on a project on how to use the hottest chilli in different applications in defense forces," said R.B. Srivastava, a senior scientist at the state-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). In addition to hand grenades (riot control, insurgency operations), the chiles will be used as a cold weather food supplement for soldiers, and to coat barracks fences for animal control.
For those of us who grew up reading The Anarchist Cookbook, this is happy news. If you want to purpose your Bhut Jolokias more peacefully (if you can call eating chiles that hot peaceful), Jim Duffy, a chile grower outside of San Diego, grows 3 kinds of Bhut Jolokias (Assam, Chocolate and Orange) and markets the fresh chiles on his website, refiningfirechiles. Duffy doesn't put the Bhuts in his wonderful homemade salsa, as he finds the flavor less compelling than his Naga Morich chiles, which, he says, have a "fruity, nutty flavor, a flavor flavor." According to Duffy, the Naga Morich, a Bangladeshi chile related to the Bhut, has unofficially tested higher than the Bhut Jolokia. Maybe that's next season's hand grenade. Or just Duffy's personal kitchen artillery.