Cauliflower Soup with Basil and Naga Jolokia

My father loves to pretend that no hot pepper is ever hot enough for him. A couple of weeks ago he had to admit he was wrong. My uncle had told him that he was breeding “the hottest chili pepper in the world”. My father made jokes about my uncle because he knows my uncle is very sensitive to hot food. My father didn’t believe him. He went to try “the hottest pepper in the world”. He cooked with it and apparently he was careful when adding it to his food. But he didn’t wash his hands properly. My mother told me that in the evening he suddenly jumped off the couch, crying and swearing. His eyes just had made the acquaintance of the Naga Jolokia, which is indeed the hottest pepper in the world. 1.000.000 Scoville units, ten times hotter than a Habanero.

I remember reading an article about this pepper in a German magazine last year. It was about a woman who can eat up to 60 of those chilies. When my father told my uncle was growing “the hottest pepper” in his garden, I had to think of this article again. But I also didn’t believe that this could be “the hottest pepper in the world”. My father gave me three peppers an after some internet research I was convinced. I now indeed hat “the hottest pepper in the world” in my kitchen.

But what to do with it? I had planned on a cauliflower soup earlier that day and now thought about throwing some chili in. Like most chilies, the end of the pepper is much milder than the centre and the seeds. So I cut of 1/5 to 1/4 of one pepper and threw it into my pot together with some onions and garlic.

Then I tried the chili by licking the cut up pepper. And yes, it was very hot. Habanero hot. Not unbearably hot, but mind you, it was only the end part of the chili I was tasting. You can already smell how mean this pepper can be. It smells like somebody is going to punch you on your nose really hard and really soon. (Yes, you can smell that.) I have read what might have happen to me if I attempted to eat one whole. But I did not even dare to cut off another piece. Only a tiny bit of one whole pepper made our cauliflower soup hot. Not “Indian hot” but “European hot”, as our waitress at the Indian restaurant would say.

This soup works well without the Naga Jolokia. It works well with any chili pepper you choose and with the amount you feel comfortable with. It will also taste great without any chili at all. It is a creamy soup with lots of fresh basil. Fresh rosemary and lemon juice make it even more flavourful.

Cauliflower Soup with Basil and Naga Jolokia (serves 3)
1 t vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
chili pepper to taste
1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1000 ml (4 cups) vegetable broth
1 kg (2 lb) cauliflower, chopped
250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened soymilk
30 g (1 cup lightly packed) fresh basil
1-2 T fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot combine oil, onion, garlic, chili, and rosemary. Over medium heat, cook for five minutes until onions are translucent. Add celery and cook for two minutes. Add vegetable broth and cauliflower. Bring to a boil, cover pot and cook for twenty minutes, until cauliflower is very tender. Remove from heat, stir in soymilk and basil. Blend with a hand held blender or in a food processor until smooth. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and serve hot.

34 thoughts on “Cauliflower Soup with Basil and Naga Jolokia

  1. What a beautiful looking soup! A perfect way to use up the basil in my garden, too (but I’m not sure I’d risk those peppers. . .maybe I’ll stick with my ususal jalapeno!)

  2. that’s one helluva hot pepper, Mihl! wow! and your soup looks soooooo gooooooood! i think this is one that dan & i will both love, fo ‘sho! i’m not too sure if we can get our hands on a naga jolokia, but i’ll use a habanero if we can’t find one. i cannot wait to try this out! yay!

  3. the soup sounds awesome.

    i did once buy a scotch bonnet and i read somewhere to just put it into stuff whole and for god’s sake don’t bust it! that’s what i did and my stew was still hot. if i’d have chopped it i’d have probably fainted.

  4. The part about your dad made me laugh because my dad is like that too! :) He claims he can eat the hottest food without blinking an eyelid!
    This pepper sounds really intriguing– I’ve never had it. I do love habanero, though. And I love the beautiful soup.

  5. What a coincidence – my father (who has the same mindset as yours when it comes to hot peppers) was talking about this particular fiery devil the other day; he’s planning to grow them next year and is very excited about it. I’ll have to save this recipe until we get our hands on some of them… the soup is beautiful!

  6. Your Dad sounds like a daring man!

    I love peppers, and I think its kind of wild how few european dishes have any kind of heat to them. This soup sounds fantastic!

  7. I will make this with Scotch Bonnet Habeneros. To get the pepper flavour without the heat you can cook the pepper whole in the soup and hope and pray that it does not burst.

    1. Thank you for the tip! Terry Romero suggests to pierce the pepper and cook it…she recomments this for Habaneros. I hope you like the soup, Scotch Bonnet sounds like a great substitute.

  8. I’ve never heard of that kind of pepper. But now I wanna try it! I love challenging my boyfriend to pepper eating contests. We both try to pretend like the peppers don’t effect us as our eyes water and we chug milk (soymilk for me, of course) to cut the heat. :-)

  9. I love a good, creamy cauliflower soup. I’ve never added basil to mine but this soup sounds so delicious, and the color is great.

    Once I made a soup so spicy that no one could even walk into the kitchen without sneezing and crying. It was not something I want to repeat!

  10. The soup looks delicious! How on earth do you take such lovely soup pictures? Mine always look pretty bad.

    That is one scary looking pepper! I have no heat-tolerance whatsoever. Why would anyone eat up to 60 of those peppers! That can’t be good!

    1. Glad to see you back, River! About that picture…I don’t know, it just happens. I have a crappy camera but I made the picture right next to the window.

  11. Mmm, that soup looks delicious! I love blended veggie soups, and I like cauliflower, but I never know what to do with it! Clearly, soup is the answer. That pepper scares me – I love heat, but I hate dealing with the stinging hands/face/eyes I invariably have to deal with after handling chilis – you’d think I’d know better by now! :) -Eve

  12. Meep. That sounds like one intense chili! I like things fairly hot, but might give this particular one a miss. ;) The recipe looks great though! Perhaps a milder chili for me though.

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