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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Phaal, the special dish at Brick Lane hotel, Manhattan... the spiciest...

Generally, when you feel heavy in your pocket, you tend to party out… immediately after the salary day and when getting fat bonuses – the first thing many do, is to dine at a famous hotel……… ‘accompanied by whom differs on whether one is married and for how long’ !!  ~ primarily you go to a restaurant to happily eat – the merriment can be due to the food or the ambience or due to the company………

Will it not be a double treat, if the restaurant were to offer you something extra…… this one called ‘Brick Lane Curry House’  offers a free bottle of beer if one can finish a bowl of their famously punishing phaal curry. One of its ingredients is ‘bhut jolokia’ from Assam region… the Assamese word "jolokia" simply means the Capsicum pepper.

Phaal, is special, it  contains  different chilies and emits so much heat that chefs wear a protective mask while making it. It  first appeared on Brick Lane’s menu in 2002, but an appearance on the Travel Channel’s sleeper stunt-food hit “Man Vs. Food” in 2008 put it on the map for local stunt diners.   The curry reportedly has left diners sweating, crying, shaking and vomiting; some have even hallucinated while attempting the eye-watering meal ….and  others have collapsed and been taken to hospital by ambulance.

According to this report in Daily - the Phaal touted as ‘'world's spiciest curry' contains eight of the chillies in the world including the Bhut Naga Jolokia, which is used to make tear gas by the Indian Military. The curry which is being served to diners at The Brick Lane Curry House in Manhattan's Upper East Side, registers at a mind-blowing 1million units on the Scoville Scale - 200 times hotter than original Tabasco sauce. The dish is so spicy chefs have to wear gas masks as they prepare it.  The curry is available with chicken, lamb, goat, paneer cheese or vegetables and costs between $15 and $21.

Every customer who manages to clear their plate is awarded a free beer, certificate and place in the restaurant's Phaal of Fame. The Manager is quoted as stating 'India is known for its spices and we wanted to create a dish that combined Indian spices with the world's hottest chillies’. 'The curry does have flavour but it has a spice that lingers and continues to burn your mouth for a long time after. 'We have to get diners to agree to a verbal disclaimer before they try the curry because it contains so many chillies it can be dangerous.

'We have to really convey the intensity of the heat to customers before they order it but I don't think anyone realises just how hot it is until they take a mouthful. Bhut Naga Jolokia chillies are one of the worlds hottest and are used in abundance in the curry. 

In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia as the world's hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. On December 3, 2010, the Bhut Jolokia was replaced as the hottest known chili pepper by the Naga Viper pepper, which has an average peak Scoville rating more than 300,000 points higher than an average Bhut Jolokia - but still not higher than the hottest ever recorded Dorset Naga. In February 2011, Guinness World Records awarded the title of "World's Hottest Chilli" to the Infinity chilli grown in Grantham, England. This chilli rates at 1,067,286 units on the Scoville scale. Later the same month, on February 25, 2011, the title returned to the Naga Viper pepper with a rating of 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The current "world's hottest" is the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, officially tested at 1,463,700 SHU. These figures are highly controversial among the pepper growing community and tests with more rigorous scientific standards are yet to be conducted on the many various peppers vying for "world's hottest" status.

The Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend (Capsicum chinense), endemic to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago, is currently the world's hottest Chili pepper cultivated. According to the Institute, the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend ranks as high as 2,009,231 SHU on the Scoville scale, making it the hottest chili pepper in the world to date. The golf ball-sized chili pepper scored the highest among a handful of chili cultivars reputed to be among the hottest in the world.

And we all thought that dining is a pleasure, lingering sweet thing for the taste buds…..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
31st May 2013

Photos and news courtesy : Daily Mail UK

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