People who like spicy food often enjoy pushing the limits their taste buds can survive and setting new records. Are you that far-out chilli-head who enjoys spices that burn off your taste buds? If yes, welcome to the wild side of experimenting with food. How can eating be all that fun without ears turning red-hot and eyes dropping water, after all?
We bring a list of dishes for you that will test your ability to take the heat. Go ahead and explore it if you want to show off your chilli prowess or if you simply want to know how many 'heat burns' it takes for you to cross all the levels. Here's your spice-o-meter:
Take the plunge into the fiery-hot madness but before you proceed, keep a glass of milk and a packet of tissues ready.
1. Jungli Maas
Rajasthanis know how to wield a chilly well. Made in a paste of chilli oil, Jungli Maas is a slow cooked hunter-style lamb dish with rustic flavours of cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, mace, chilli heat, and a burst of red chillies (of course). Definitely not for the faint gutted.
2. Phaal Curry
Holding the reputation of being the hottest curry in the world, it is known to make people vomit, hallucinate, and even pay a visit to the hospital. This dish uses about ten different types of peppers, including Bhoot Jolokia, the world's hottest. If you can chomp on it unperturbed, you have our (teary-eyed) respect.
3. Andhra Mutton Fry
With at least 7-8 green chillies used in its preparation and whole Indian spices adding to the zest, give your palate a double whammy by chowing down some Andhra Mutton fry. When was the last time your saliva became (this) viscous after eating spicy food?
4. Suicide Chicken Wings
While preparations of chicken wings are totally harmless and quite a hit with everyone, this beauty packs quite a kick to your taste buds. Soaked in a mixture of tabasco, chilli powder and cayenne pepper (basically, all the hot things you can get your hands on), this should be taken seriously.
5. Saoji Chicken Curry
Saoji chicken curry has a reputation for being exotic and fiercely spicy - thanks to the richness of peppercorns, red and green chillies, cardamom, ginger, and freshly ground garam masalas releasing their flavour in desi ghee.
6. Sichuan Spicy Hot Pot
Even if Asia owns many versions of hot pot, Sichuan Spicy Hot Pot is by far and away the spiciest version. There is definitely a lot going on in this dish - Sichuan peppercorns, long Sichuan chillies, chilli bean sauce and your mouth burning AND numbing.
7. Marchwangan Korma
Kashmir's love for fiercely spicy and exciting hot food is showcased in the preparation of Marchwangan Korma. A part of Kashmiri Wazwan, this curry infused with red chilli and simmered in a red spicy gravy for over an hour is all kinds of spicy and yum yum yum.
A celebrated dish in Meghalaya, Tungtap is a dry fish paste or chutney in which fish is charred on top of a flame and spiked up with onion, green chillies and red chillies. The unique, strong taste it pleases your (spice-loving) palate with is something you won't forget easily.
9. Tom Yum
Thanks to Thai Bird’s Eye Chili, galangal, fish sauce and chilli peppers, get introduced to one of the spiciest dishes the world has known. There are milder versions of Tom Yum, but if you can get your hands on some 'real' Tom Yum, it can be blistering.
10. Pork/Chicken Vindaloo
A Goan (Parsis also have a version of it) dish brought to India by the Portuguese, Vindaloo uses ridiculous amounts of Kashmiri red chillies and, if that was not enough, it uses a ridiculous amount of Bhoot Jolokia, the hottest chilli pepper in the world. We warned you.
Infused with paprika, red peppers and garlic, this stew promises to keep you warm on gloomy winter nights. With the paprika that kicks things up a notch, enjoy your goulash and feel the warmth building up in your mouth.
12. Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa
Steeped in the richness of Kolhapuri masalas, it is a spicy gravy that punches a terrific zing to the taste buds. This mouth-watering mix of spices mixes perfectly well with everything and makes for an uber spicy delight. Watch your tongue!
13. Smoked Pork With Bhoot Jolokia
Anything with Bhoot Jolokia in it can make your ears hot, lips feel the burn and taste buds tingle. This famous, savoury, spicy, and fierce Naga dish totally spoils you with the warmth (major understatement alert). It hurts so good.
14. Double Spicy Hyderabadi Biryani
The Double Spicy Hyderabadi Biryani, designed to give a double blow to your mind and palate, is a rich mix of red chilli AND green chilli paste, cardamom powder, cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves, mace, and rice and chicken/mutton and teary-eyed deliciousness.
15. Piro Aloo
If your saliva starts thickening after spicy dum aloo preparations, gear up for this (*insert any two digit number* times spicier than dum aloo) Nepali Piro Aloo curry made with Arbol chilli powder, cumin, garlic, turmeric and green chillies. Feeling hot, hot, hot?
16. Grilled Jerk Chicken Wings
Blessed with Scotch bonnet, a Jamaican chilli, which is a particularly fiery variety of chilli, makes an appearance in the popular grilled jerk chicken dish. Well, go ahead then, set those taste buds and belly on fire. (Not literally please)
17. Chettinad Chicken Curry
If you thought 'South Indian food' is all about comfortable dosas and idlis, with mildly tasting chutneys, and piping hot sambar, you seriously need to think again. Steeped in a paste of roasted dry red chillies, kalpasi, poppy seeds, black pepper, poppy seeds, garlic in gingelly, this delivers on all its (spicy) promises well.
18. Kolhapuri Misal
A spicy tomato stew with moth sprouts and topped with Indian bread (pao), Kolhapuri misal is a street favourite in Maharashtra. If you need an instant kick of heat, spice and something nice, you know what to devour.
19. Nadan Kozhi Curry
This dish from Kerala, believed to have been first introduced to India by early Jewish settlers, is a chicken curry, hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, green chilli peppers AND dried ground red chilli peppers. The variety of spices used in this dish makes it one of the spiciest curries in India. Hello, water!
Kangam is a Naga dish made of shredded chicken - fried, mixed and served with Raja Mirchi. It is so spicy that the heat from the chillies can 'cook' the chicken. You are the one true Lord of The Spices if you can have this dish without hallucinating.
21. Papa la la hunciana
The Peruvians can give anyone a run for their money when it comes to preparing spicy dishes. Basically, it is a potato salad. But what gives it that extra (super-duper-zuper-zuper) spicy kick is the Amarillo chilli peppers. You can 'accidentally' offer this dish to people you don't like.
22. Shin Sho Ruse
Before trying it, keep a towel, (20?) buckets of water and a fire extinguisher ready. This Tibetan delicacy, cooked with beef or chicken, is packed with just the right spices to turn your temperature high.
23. Kolhapuri Chicken Curry
Ladled with dry roasted sesame seeds, peppercorns, caraway seeds, beautifully spiced cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, green cardamoms, poppy seeds, cloves, mace, dried coconut and special Bedgi chillies, Kolhapuri chicken packs quite a punch on the palate.
24. Coorgi Pandi Curry
This pork curry, made in a freshly made masala paste and chillies, is cooked to perfection till the meat absorbs all the masalas and releases its flavours. It is a dish that wins hearts and really spices the palate up.
25. Geki Kara Miso Ramen
Geki Kara Miso Ramen with translates to Super Spicy Miso Ramen is a winter dish in Japan. Made with Ramen, miso, chilli oil and a whole habanero pepper, it can soak you in your tears in a matter of minutes.