Kambuzi Chilli Pepper Seeds
Cultivar Origin: Malawi, Southeastern Africa
Species: Capsicum chinense
Heat Level: Unmeasured – Percieved 100,000 to 350,000 SHU
Flower Colour: Light Green
In Chichewa, the official native language of Malawi, Kambuzi means “small goat”. Before bearing its tasty, bright orange pods, the leaves of the Kambuzi are known to be a popular snack for young goats. If you have goats you will know that almost anything green is fair game, so keep your chilli plants sheltered from them all, young or old.
Referred to locally as “the chilli with flavour”, it is surprising that the Kambuzi has not become well known far and wide, instead, it remains a hidden gem in the warm heart of Africa. A popular part of the local diet, Kambuzi’s are commonly found at local markets in ordered, ready to go groups of ten to twenty pods. Originating from the Capsicum Chinense Species the pods have a pungent odour and flavour profile similar to a Habanero, where they differ is their fresh tones, reminiscent of tropical fruit and citrus. Even when cooked, used in marinades or made into a sauce the Kambuzi maintains its delicious, fresh taste.
Growing Tips for Kambuzi Chillies
Cultivating this chilli variety takes care and patience. Having grown for generations in the hot African sun they are definitely suited to warmer climates or greenhouse cultivation in cooler climates. If the temperature remains too low when germinating seeds it can take up to 3 weeks for young seedlings to appear and germination rates are low. If you are planning on growing a Kambuzi chilli plant of your own, for faster and better germination consider placing a heating mat below your germination medium with a temperature setting between 25 and 30 degrees Celcius.
After germination plants tend to develop slowly in comparison to other Capsicum Chinense varieties. This period of slow development is followed by a burst of activity, flowers develop and the plant’s branches form a compact bush with a dense canopy. Masses of dark green pods ripen to a bright orange, fading to pale peach if left on the plant for too long. Fading often occurs as pods can be hidden from view by the thicket of leaves above; so take a good look under your plants now and then, there are likely a few hidden gems under there.
Picking ripe pods regularly will allow the plant to focus its energy on new growth, flower production and ripening green pods. So if you are trying to get the most out of your Kambuzi plant this season, try to harvest pods regularly, they freeze well and defrost quickly for use in sauces and cooking. Frozen pods loose their crunchy texture when defrosted so are best used where their texture will not be noticed.
Kambuzi Pod Profile
Kambuzi pods are surprisingly juicy and crunchy for a thin-walled chilli variety. The bright orange pods often have a bullet-like shape, but can also be found in a flat ribbed shape that looks like a miniature pumpkin. The pumpkin-shaped variety averages 2cm wide by 1cm in length and the bullet-shaped, slightly larger, around 1.5cm wide by 2.5cm long. The flavour and growth of the plant is consistent in both types, so it’s really up to you to grow the type that you prefer.
Heat and Flavour
The Kambuzi’s heat level is similar to a Habanero, if not slightly lower. As a lesser known and untested variety, the average Scoville Heat Units of the Kambuzi are yet to be determined. An educated estimate (based on eating so many chillies) would be between 100,000 and 350,000 SHU.
It’s fresh fruity habanero flavour pairs well with fish dishes and makes a flavorful sauce that is a great every day go to for spicing up any meal. One of the most well known hot sauces is Marie’s Kambuzi Hot Sauce, a must for anyone looking for a tasty, unique chilli sauce that keeps you coming back for more.
If you are thinking of making your own hot sauce, there are a few delicious options that can be made using the Kambuzi. A Mauritian Mazavaroo style sauce tastes great, the added ginger can ramp up the heat and pairs well with many meals if you like it hot. If not, try a freshly made hot sauce with coconut, mint and Kambuzi, the mix of coconut, cooling mint and hot chilli is refreshing and has a milder heat. Great to pair with curries or samosas.