Mystery Devil Pepper

Don’t know what it’s called, exactly . But god, is it spicy hot. Mom calls it Ot Hiem (Dangerous pepper), we call it the Devil pepper and others say it’s a thai chili variety. Though it looks like the typical thai chili from a distance, it’s possesses at least 3 times the potency. It’s shorter and slightly fatter at the base then the thai chili and it’s most dangerous when it’s black (right before it starts to ripen to red). Defying gravity, the always shiny fruit grows upwards to the sky. The leaves of this devil pepper are short, round, dark green and full of small white hairs. When looking at the plant from a distance, the leaves look almost grayish around the edges because of the white hairs. It’s not even commonly found in Vietnamese stores. Only some Viet gardeners dare to nurture these evil specimens in their gardens and we’ve been able to occasionally find the plant at some random Viet grocery stores and sidewalk street vendors.

It’s true to it’s given common name because it is spicier than any jalapeno, habanero, thai or any other chili we’ve had. It’s so spicy that our pepper loving fanatics have to take it slow when biting into these heathen chilies. We warned a certain individual (you know who you are) to wash his hands after handling the seeds of the devil pepper. He’s young vigorous man and thought he was impervious to any heat that chilies give off. Well, that was until he forgot to wash his hands thoroughly before he went to the bathroom. He was humbled to the fifth degree. End of story.

The allure of these devil peppers is not just because of it’s intense heat, but because of its remarkable flavor. The distinct, fragrant smell is still something we can’t describe, other than identifying it as the “devil pepper smell”. But when it’s crushed into sauces and dips, it’s special flavor makes everyone wonder what the secret ingredient is. Does anyone have the botanical name of this particular pepper species? We grow it, eat it and love it. But don’t know what the heck it’s real name is.

Vietnamese Chili Salt Dip

Yield: 1/4 cup

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 2 Thai Chili or any red chili pepper
  • 3 table spoons sea salt
  • sprinkle of paprika (optional)


  1. Crush chili in a bowl . Add sea salt and continue crushing chili's until the juices are released into the salt. The more you crush, the more heat you add to the mixture, so beware! For a more smoky flavor sprinkle in some paprika. Let the chili juices dry out in the salt mixture for about 1 hour.
  2. Use as a dipping condiment for green mangoes or in any recipe to enhance it's salt and spicy flavors.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. David

    A friend of mine from Vietnam was growing these in her backyard, she called them Vietnamese chilli’s, I got a clipping of her and just planted it in a pot today, was curious about them, which bought me here, very good read thanks.
    I agree that there extremely hot, im growing a few other types of chilli including habernaros and the black chilli’s i got from my friend where definitely hotter then habernaros. looking forward to next season when ill have a big harvest of these little beauty’s 🙂

  2. Shannon

    I grow these… Black Cobra Peppers. AKA Goat’s Weed peppers. Native of Venezuela.

    The Black Cobra variety of Capsicum annuum are also called Goat’s Weed peppers. It is one of the only pepper plants of this species that has fuzzy leaves and stems. Also unique to this plant is the multi-colored peppers, green, black and red that shoot to the sky from the tips of the stems all at once.


    The three inch-long Black Cobra chile peppers grow straight up from the olive green leaves and stems, resembling fingers stretching up to the sky. The peppers ripen from green to black to fluorescent red. Black Cobra chile peppers only maintain their dark color for a few weeks. They are edible when black and are often harvested at this stage. The taste is spicy, though not nearly as spicy as a habanero. The black color gives way to a striking red color and with it an increase in spiciness. The heat has a range of 20,000 to 40,000 Scoville units


    Prepare Black Cobra chile peppers by removing the stem, slicing lengthwise through half the pod and remove the seeds. Chop the pepper and add to salsas or marinades for beef or chicken. Cook peppers with tomatillos, tomatoes and onions for a spicy sauce. These peppers get spicier the longer they are on the plant; once they turn red, they are much spicier.


    Black Cobra chili peppers are native to Venezuela. They grow best in a warm climate, where summers are hot for an extended period of time, helping the spicy flavor develop in the fruit. In addition to being an edible plant, the color of the fruit and its fuzzy silver leaves make for popular ornamental plants in amateur gardens.

  3. Suzy

    Not sure if you ever got an answer on your question as to the botanical name for these peppers…They are called Black Cobra or Goat’s Weed Peppers. I am a writer for Specialty Produce and am currently writing copy for their site on these little spicy peppers.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Thanks Suzy. We were lucky enough enough to have a couple other commenters give us the same info. Glad to see everyone is in agreement.

  4. Paul

    I use to have one of these plants. It died a while back though. All the peppers I got off of it that I have dryed out and cracked open to get the seeds out won’t grow. I’m starting to think it might be a hybrid of some sort considering how rare they are.

  5. nett

    TBH it look smore like a black cobra pepper to me. unless goats weed is an alternate name for the cobra pepper which got its name for the fact it stands upright on the plant and does pack quiet the punch.

    Black Cobra Pepper Images

    1. White on Rice Couple

      I believe they are different names for the same pepper. We forgot about that name until you brought it up again. Thanks!

  6. Andy Le

    The name of this hot pepper is “Goat’s weed” and it’s from Venezuela origin. I have grown many different kind of hot pepper, and I have to say that this pepper has the best flavor. This pepper is pretty hot, just one notch below habanero. But hot enough to make your head steaming.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      That’s it! Thank you so much. So glad to finally have a name to match up with one of our favorite chilies.

  7. robert

    Our cousin in Chicago, has been growing these peppers for years, and his dads dad. We never new the name untill now. Ot Heim (devil pepper). The perfect name for this pepper. We have been visit every year in Oct. for vacation and bring some home, because they put out so much, they have to give them away. Thanks everyone the research.

  8. John

    How tall are these plants? I’ve got some that look the same and quickly grow to 4′ to 6′ tall. They get top heavy from all the peppers. I started them about 4 years ago with a couple of small plants I just pulled from a friends side yard. We figured they were chile de arbol or serrano since that’s all they ever ate, and they never intentionally planted them. These are growing like crazy, I cutting the plants back. All of the other chilies I try to grow(habanero, serrano, Anahiem, Fresno) die quickly. My father in law tossed one of these peppers in his flower bed and it quickly grew past the eaves of his roof. He dug it up and gave it to his neighbor. They are way hotter than serranos and some of them have an odd taste, sort of like licorice. I am in San Dimas.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      These usually grow in the 2-3′ range, but it will vary with growing conditions. We’ve seen them maybe up to 4′ Not sure if these are the same as yours or not, but any super spicy pepper with great flavor is an excellent pepper! Sounds like you’ve got a winner!

  9. Insaney

    I could be wrong, but isn’t that variety of pepper commonly known as the African Bird’s Eye Pepper?

    It’s in the same Scoville range as the Habanero, though I’m unaware of which is hotter.

  10. Amy

    It is “Devil Peppers”… variations of them. Used a lot in Southeast Asia and there’s even an African type. Vietnamese people call it “Ot Hiem”, yep. They are the only peppers that grow upward. =] My dad gave me a tree and it’s taller than me. He grows a ton!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Sounds like you have the same chili and of course we call it ot hiem as well, notice it says that in the post, but we are looking for what the genus or common “white people” name for the chili may be. Thanks for sharing. Glad you guys enjoy them as much as us.

  11. Gary

    Was wondering the same thing as Mike…any idea on the name yet? Have a plant in the backyard that sounds exactly like this…and just took a bite out of one that was black and felt like my tongue was going to fall off. LOL. Any idea?

  12. Mike

    Did you ever figure out the name of this pepper? I’ve got a plant and it is as you described only the leaves are a light green and i’m dying to know what kind of pepper it is.

    1. Roberto

      My friend, This chili pepper is called “Black Dragon pepper” It is said that is originally from Vietnam. I started growing this peppers since 1992. A vietnamiese friend from work gave me a few of those devils and save the seeds and then started growing my own plants. I hope this info solved the mistery peppers.


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