Not for the faint-hearted, the Scotch bonnet chili is a fiery pepper that packs a punch! Here's how to use it, plus some tips for making a delicious hot pepper sauce.
If you have ever tried your hand at Caribbean cooking, it is likely that you would have come across recipes calling for Scotch bonnet chilli.
You may have substituted standard red chillis, or maybe even birds eye chillis, but the heat levels they offer don’t quite compare to those of the Scotch bonnet!
If you want to recreate true Caribbean spice in your food, it is essential that you use Scotch bonnet chilli.
Other common names for the Scotch bonnet include Jamaican Hot, Bonney peppers, Scotty Cons or goat peppers.
When measuring the level of heat that a chilli pepper produces, a scale called the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) is used.
How Hot is a Scotch Bonnet Chili?
To put things into a bit of perspective for you, a jalapeño sits at 5000 on the SHU scale, whereas a scotch bonnet can measure in at a whopping 100,000 - 300,000!
The heat flavors that a Scotch bonnet offers include hints of apple, cherry and tomato. Essentially, it has an overall fruity flavor with a touch of sweetness too.
If you find that the heat level of a Scotch bonnet is a bit too much for you, you can cut away the white tissue found within the pepper.
Much like the habanero pepper, at full maturity, the Scotch bonnet chilli can be found in a range of colors, most typically red or yellow. You can also find varieties that include orange, peach and even brownish colors!
A scotch bonnet chili pepper generally measures anywhere between one to two and a half inches in length and about the same in diameter. It has an almonst a hat-like appearance, which is how this chilli got its name!
Whilst you may think its hard to describe the flavor of a chilli other than ‘hot’ or ‘spicy’, there are complexities to such spice levels that can actually have flavor comparisons.
Using Scotch Bonnet Chilis to Make Pepper Sauce
In addition to using whole or sliced Scotch bonnet chillis in Caribbean cooking, you will find that many recipes call for hot pepper sauce. You can actually make your own hot pepper sauce using Scotch bonnet chili peppers!
Scotch bonnet chilis are ideal for making Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Always remember, when handling any chilli peppers, to wear gloves to prevent any of the residue from getting on your hands.
Additionally, you should always wash your hands even after removing your gloves and thoroughly clean your chopping board.
To make hot pepper sauce, you will need:
- Scotch bonnet chilis
- Pickeled jalapeños
- Apple cider vineagar