Scotch Bonnet Chiles
What's hotter than hot, and looks like the tam o'shanter perched on a Scotsman's head?
A Scotch Bonnet chile, that's what. A native of Central America, this fiery pepper is a staple in Caribbean and West African cuisine, used to flavor many different dishes and often used in the hottest hot sauces and condiments.
Wait - but aren't Scotch Bonnets and Habaneros the same thing? Close but no cigar! Both chiles score a withering 325,000 Scoville units,* though Habaneros can reach a nuclear 570,000 Sc. But the relatively milder Scotch Bonnet has a sweeter flavor, a slightly smoky aroma, and a more "stout" shape, distinguished from its habanero cousin. The Scotch Bonnet chile gives jerk dishes and other Caribbean recipes their distinctive flavor.
Use Scotch Bonnet chile - sparingly! - in homemade salsas, marinades, and hot sauces. Drop a whole pepper into a pot of bubbling soup (just for a few minutes, then carefully remove) to impart some heat. Scotch Bonnet chiles impart authentic levels of heat to Jamaican jerk dishes, West Indian curries, and Callaloo, the Caribbean "green soup."
*As a point of comparison, a Jalapeņo chile registers a mere 5,000 Scoville units.