It’s too hot to handle. That’s the Bollywood Burner for you — and it’s vying to get into The Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘hottest’ thing you ever ate, using goodly quantities of two of the ‘hottest’ chillies in the world. Like most Indian curries, it needs accompaniments: only in this case, Vivek Singh, the man who rustled up the concoction, recommends the following: lots of plain yoghurt, steamed rice, a bucket of ice-cold water and possibly a fire extinguisher.
Vivek — who is executive chef of London’s Cinnamon Club (no – it’s not the restaurant where Cheeni Kum was shot) — also offers a statutory warning: “It’s honestly not something for the faint-hearted! Therefore people need to enjoy it at their own risk!” The ‘feedback’ he has received so far is that “without exception everyone has found it the hottest dish they’ve ever eaten”.
Vivek grew up in Asansol, where his father was a mining engineer. “But I travelled and lived in Orissa, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Jaipur — before moving to London. I did my hotel management from Delhi and got an opportunity to become a chef with Oberoi Hotels… then, things just fell into place.”
Working out of London now, he points out that “the British feel as much of an ownership of curry as we in India do”. And it was interesting to find out that the world’s second hottest chilli is called Dorset Naga (a strain of the Indian Naga Jalokia) — and is grown in Dorset. “Also the fact the UK has more Indian restaurants than anywhere else outside India is an endorsement of the British affinity to both curry and chilli.”