Naga Morich Pepper: Rare Ghost Pepper Rival And Relative

Naga Morich Peppers
The Naga Morich pepper of Bangladesh and Northeast India is a close relative of the ghost pepper and rivals its heat as one of the world's hottest peppers. It's usually used in its immature green state in Bengali cuisine to spare pepper enthusiasts its insane spiciness.

What Is A Naga Morich Pepper?

A Naga Morich pepper is a rare, naturally occurring Capsicum chinense pepper variety native to Northeast India and Bangladesh. It is grown in Sylhet, Bangladesh, and Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur in Northeast India. 

The Naga Morich chile pepper is also grown in Finland and Australia.

‘Naga Morich’ is the local name for the pepper in Bangladesh and India. It is called the ‘snake chili’ or ‘serpent chili’ in English.

As a naturally occurring Capsicum chinense pepper variety, the Naga Morich is a close relative of the ghost pepper, also called the bhut jolokia. The Naga Morich is even considered a local cultivar of the bhut jolokia.

You’ll also find the Naga Morich called the Dorset Naga. The latter is a super hot pepper developed as a subspecies of the Naga Morich by Joy and Michael Michaud in Dorset, England, from the best Naga Morich plants.


Naga Morich peppers start green before ripening to vibrant orange or yellow and finally to bright red.

The three colors may manifest on the same plant at the three different color cycles of the pods. They may also display beautiful transitional shades in a single pod!

Size And Shape

Serpent chilis or Naga Morich chilis are small peppers that measure about two inches long and about one inch wide at full maturity. They are smaller than bih jolokia and bhut jolokia peppers, their close relatives.

The shape of serpent chilis differs a lot, but they are usually wedge-shaped and have three locules or inner chambers. Their slender body tapers to a point on the non-stem end.


Like the bhut jolokia, Naga Morich chili peppers have bumpy, pimply ribbed skin flowing over thin walls. They are slightly smoother than ghost peppers.


Naga Morich peppers have a similar flavor profile to bhut jolokia but are slightly less earthy and a bit fruitier. They are sweet, slightly tangy, and somewhat fruity—almost floral—with hints of earthy, woodsy, and smoky flavors. 

Naga Morich Pepper
Naga Morich Pepper.

How Hot Is Naga Morich?

At 1,000,000-1,500,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, Naga Morich peppers are among the world’s super hot peppers known for their tongue-scorching heat. Some dried pods of this Naga pepper even reach 1,598,227 SHUs! 

Ghost peppers max out at 1,042,000 Scoville Heat Units.

The more well-known jalapeno pepper strikes a paltry 2,500-8,000 SHUs.

The Naga Morich is closer to other super hot peppers like the Carolina reaper at 1,400,000-2,200,000 SHUs and Trinidad Moruga scorpion peppers at 1,500,000-2,009,000 SHUs.

How To Use Naga Morich Peppers In Cooking

Bengali or Bangladeshi cuisine features Naga Morich peppers, but they are used sparingly because of their heat. In Bangladesh, immature green Naga Morich pods are cut open and rubbed onto ingredients. These have lower heat levels than the ripe ones. 

You can use Naga Morich peppers to make hot sauce or season marinades where insane heat and sweetness are required.

The peppers can also be dehydrated and ground into chili powder and hot chili flakes. The flakes or powder make an excellent super hot topping for pizza.

You can spice stews and soups with Naga Morich peppers. However, only use a fraction of one pod and taste as you go.

Another prevalent use for Naga Morich peppers is to eat them as a side dish in their green form. This application is common in Bangladesh and India.

Where To Buy Naga Morich Chili Peppers

Naga Morich peppers are rare. It’s easier to find them online in dried form rather than fresh at typical pepper outlets like local markets, groceries, and supermarkets. Your best option is to grow your own peppers.

Can You Grow Naga Morich Peppers?

Yes. However, the Naga Morich is a slow-growing pepper. It takes its sweet time to mature—up to 120 days after transplanting.

You can buy Naga Morich or serpent chile seeds online on Amazon and various web-based seed catalogs. These take three weeks or more to germinate when started indoors.

Once your Naga Morich seedlings develop several sets of true leaves, plant them outside in full sun in the garden or into large containers. The plants grow up to a three feet high and have a large spread.

Naga Morich Pepper plant
Naga Morich pepper plant with red and green peppers.

Substitutes For Naga Morich Peppers

As with most other pepper substitutions, look for alternatives with a similar heat level and flavor profile.

If your recipe calls for Naga Morich peppers and you don’t find any, you can use the following options:

  • Habaneros and scotch bonnet peppers, both at 100,000-350,000 SHUs when you want a replacement without all the insane heat.
  • Ghost peppers (1,042,000 SHUs).
  • Trinidad scorpion peppers (1,500,000-2,200,000 SHUs).
  • Chocolate Naga Morich peppers (a cross between Naga Morich and chocolate ghost peppers—developed at Innovation Acre by Steve Bender). They have the same heat level.
  • Dorset Naga peppers.
  • Naga Viper.
  • Trinidad Moruga scorpion peppers (1,550,000-2,009,000 SHUs).
  • Death spiral peppers.
  • 7 Pot peppers and related varieties like 7 Pot Bubblegum, 7 Pot Douglah, 7 Pot Brain Strain, and 7 Pot Primo.


Peppers have become the meeting point for three of Alex's greatest passions—gardening, cooking and writing. He is happiest watching small plants grow big and heavy with produce, and he can't wait to harvest self-grown fresh produce for his kitchen. When he is not taking care of his pepper plants, you'll find him busy cooking and sampling different peppers as he seeks the next hotter pepper.

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