The African Birdseye Chile is also called African devil, Monbassa chile, African Chile or Zanzibar chile. From the Capsicum frutescens species, the Birdseye is actually a close relative of the fiery hot tabasco chile. For hundreds of years it has been grown in the African wild but in more recent times it has also been commercially harvested in Australia, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
There are many wild chiles that have the word "bird" in their names so distinguishing among them can be a bit difficult. Most of the undomesticated bird peppers come from the four species C.annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense, and C.frutescens. The best known bird peppers are the Texas chilipiquin and the Mexican chiltepin.
The African Birdseye chile tapers to a blunt point and are typically between ½” and 1” in length. The immature fruit is green in color and when fully ripened the chile turns a bright red.
The Birdseye Chile, specifically the variety from Uganda, is believed by many to be the hottest chile that is not a member of the legendary C. Chinense species and will come in at 100,000-225,000 on the Scoville Heat scale. Due to these potent heat levels most of these African chiles are harvested and processed for commercial use as a pepper extract. There are approximately 350 chiles per ounce.
Birdseye Chiles have a clean flavor but lack the complexity of some of the more popular chiles. With undertones of dry hay they have a nice bite.
Helpful Hint: Use great caution when handling these peppers because of their heat, be sure to wash your hands and do not rub your eyes or nose. Commonly used in soups, stews, chicken dishes and hot sauces.
We consider the African Birdseye Chile to be a crazy hot chile. Our other favorite crazy hot chiles are the Habanero,(125,000-300,000 SHU) and the Bhut Jolokia (aka Ghost Chile (800,000-1,041,000 SHU).