THEY RE normally cultivated in the 100F climes of Bangladesh -but this summer, the hottest chilli pepper on earth has been grown in a backyard a little closer to home. Azhar Ahmed was given a handful of seeds by a friend from the South East Asian country

THEY'RE normally cultivated in the 100F climes of Bangladesh -but this summer, the hottest chilli pepper on earth has been grown in a backyard a little closer to home.Azhar Ahmed was given a handful of seeds by a friend from the South East Asian country last year. And after planting them in the conservatory of his Barnstaple home last December, the Indian takeaway owner is almost ready to put his freshly-grown fiery fruits to the ultimate test - by using them to produce a new curry dish for his customers.Powerful enough to knock the socks off even the most ardent of spicy food fans, the tiny Naga Jolokia pepper often measures in excess of 1,000,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of pure capsaicin- the scale of heat in chillis.Also known as Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Chili, Ghost Pepper and Naga Morich, it holds the current Guinness World Record for the world's hottest chilli variety.In Bangladesh, Nagas - a word said to derive from the Sanskrit for "cobra snake" - are treated with serious respect. In parts of India, the peppers are reportedly smeared on fences to keep wild elephants at a distance. Mr Ahmed, who runs the Taj Mahal takeaway in Allhalland Street, Bideford, said the chilli should be handled with extreme care."I have tried them myself and they were very hot - too hot for me," he told the Gazette."The heat is very intense and after I tried just a small amount, I had to eat some sugar to neutralise the burning sensation."Mr Ahmed said he would be wearing gloves to prepare the fruit - enough for around 10 dishes of super-hot curry that he intends to sell to raise money for the North Devon Hospice.He said local curry lovers would be given the rare chance to sample what is likely to be one of the world's hottest curries during a special "Naga Night" at his takeaway on Sunday and Monday night."They are almost ready now and there will be around 10-12 limited edition portions available to try at the Taj Mahal from 5-11pm," he said."I think this could be the first time the Naga chilli had been grown in North Devon and would like to offer a plant to a local nursery so that more can be grown in the area."Any readers who are brave enough to try Mr Ahmed's "Naga curry" at the Taj Mahal are welcome to drop us a line and give us their verdict.