Dundicut Pepper: Pakistani Spice

Fiery and fruity…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 55,000 – 65,000
Jalapeño reference point: 7 to 26 times hotter
Origin: Pakistan
Products and seeds: Dundicut pepper on Amazon

You don’t need to search far in authentic Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine to discover the dundicut pepper. It’s a staple chili – especially for Pakistani cuisine – where it heats up curries, chutneys, and many other sauces and dishes. In fact, this chili is often called the national chili of Pakistan. Dundicuts are typically used dried and provide an extra-hot kick with a delicious layer of fruitiness.

How hot are dundicut peppers?

Dundicut peppers are hot enough to leave the hottest potential cayenne in the rearview mirror. At 55,000 to 65,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) they fall at the lower end of extra-hot peppers. That’s at minimum 5,000 SHU above the hottest possible cayenne pepper (50,000 SHU). Given cayenne ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU, you’ll feel on average nearly twice the heat with a dundicut.

Against, our jalapeño reference point: Dundicut chilies range from seven to twenty-six times hotter than a jalapeño. It’s a big heat, but not so big as some of the chilies at the upper end of extra hot, like the habanero or Scotch bonnet.

What do these chilies look like?

Fresh dundicut peppers have a teardrop-like shape to them. Round on one end, pointed on the other. They are smaller chilies than most, with a diameter of only one inch. They mature from green to red, like most other chilies.

But it’s the dried form in which most will discover the dundicut. Dried, these chilies take on a wrinkled, raisin-like texture, with a more berry-like shape maxing out at about a half inch across. Dried dundicut peppers have a beautifully-rich red hue.

What do dundicut peppers taste like?

When dried, there is a lightly fruity aroma and taste to these chilies, with a sun-burnt bitterness too. The fruity flavor is not so pronounced as the fruitiness of the habanero or Scotch bonnet, but it’s just enough to complement dishes with fruity or sweet ingredients quite well.

How can you use dundicuts?

Authentic spicy Pakistani cuisine is not the same without dundicut peppers. Though, many regional cuisine types benefit from this chili: Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian fare all have found a culinary home for the dundicut.

Curries, chutnies, and sauces of all kind have benefited from the dundicut’s delicious flavor and heat. The dried chilies are often rehydrated and used whole to enhance flavor. They are also excellent chilies to use as a seafood and meat marinade prior to grilling.

Where can you buy dundicut peppers?

You can often buy dried dundicut peppers at specialty stores or via the web. Or, try your hand at growing your own – you can buy dundicut pepper seeds easily online.

If you want to experience authentic spicy Pakistani cuisine, the dundicut pepper is a must to know. It can, though, deliver well beyond these culinary borders, so don’t be afraid of running out of use cases. There are plenty there.

Photo by Rep07 (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 6, 2022 to include new content.
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