Akabare/Dalle Khorsani Peppers

May 9, 2011

On a trip to India last year I got some Dalle (Akabare) Khorsani peppers. There really isn't much, if any information on them on the internet since they seem to be very regional to Sikkim/Nepal. In my opinion they're the best pepper I've ever had.* I brought back around 30 seeds. Split between me and a friend. I never payed attention to my dad's gardening (which is good, becuase, they weren't tomatos to say the least). A few seeds went into a 2L bottle, a few into a cup, a few into another pot. I had maybe 5 germinate, my friend had 3.

Their growth just seemed to stall after a while staying perpetually at a few inches with 2-3 leaves. First time I tried moving them outside thinking they needed more sun. Instant shriveling and lost a few. I managed to keep one alive through October, though it just didn't make it. It lost all its leaves and was no more. After my friend moved to Georgia in August he said his plant started doing a lot better. It stayed inside but near the window. This is his plant in Dec after around 10 months since germination.


His plant finally produced flowers and fruit at around 12 months. He said after his first harvest of 2-3 peppers, another 30 flowers showed up and even more after. He's waiting on his second harvest so he can send me some seeds. He's had a 100% germination rate with the seeds he planted from the first harvest.

We e-mailed one of the home stays and the owner's reply was to spread cow and chicken dung around it. Lacking both in a central Indiana apartment building, what would be the correct equivalent from the gardening section?

We're really not sure what is 'normal' for these plants. It just seemed like a long time to frutation. I'm living in a house next year and bought an LED grow light hoping it'd help my plant through the Indiana Weather. Sikkim climate isn't too extreme and these plants live outside all year there.

"Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, witness a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28C (82F) in summer or dropping below 0C (32F) in winter. The mean monthly temperature in summer is 15C. The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, and autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18C (64F)."

Has anyone heard of this pepper? Anyone with advice growing it? Maybe similar to southern china peppers?

* 1) They're relatively hot but still with full flavor. 1 would be a normal limit during dinner. I put 2 into a chilli and it turned out amazing.

2) The heat disappears in a few minutes on its own. No milk, bread, water. It just sort of goes away.

3) NO 'second burn'. None. It's like alcohol with no hangover.

Comments (28)

  • sjetski

    JJarvis i am not familiar with that pepper, but since you know the climate of the region it hails from, Humid, Dry, Hot, cool mountainside, rainy etc etc, it'll give you an edge on raising them to pod production.

    I know what happened to your original plants though, you didn't "harden them off" correctly. The first time you introduce them into real sun, only leave them in a hot sun for 30 min or less. Then bring them back under lights. The second time you can leave them out for an hour or so. The third time for two hours. And the fourth time you can let them have a 1/2 day's worth of sun. You must do this gradually in other words. You can leave them out a little bit longer on cooler or overcast days, but not as long on hot, bright, sunny days. And while hardening off, if you see the plant beginning to droop, take it back inside temporarily for recovery, and maybe check the moisture level in the pot.

    I'm sure your next attempt will be a lot better than your first, maybe plant a few extra seeds to ensure success of at least a few plants.

    Oh yea, you're going to get hit with a lot of trade requests since this is the perfect forum to distribute this very interesting variety, i know i'm interested ;). Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    Any chance your friend can take some pics later on in the season for you to post here?

  • jjarvis98

    His first one. This was taken March 27th. I think we both started planting around early April.

    These aren't his but found from google search. He said this is pretty much what they do. They'll start out green. Then turn purple before starting turning full red.

    I plan on starting them in planters this time and letting the roots fully develop. It just takes a LONG time.

    I just dug up some photos of my plant that almost made it:


    I planted around April 1 inside. That photo was taken early October. I was setting it outside during the day and had it under LED grow lights at night. Until a freak rainstorm came and dumped a ton of water and it just lost all its leaves in the following 2 days (I even tried to transplant it into dry soil).

    There's a Facebook Group with some more photos.

  • jjarvis98

    I prodded my friend into getting photos:

  • jjarvis98

    Got a message from my friend: "lots of casualties. out of nowhere several leaves have turned yellow. going to fertilize". So, does anyone know the equivalent the dung?

    He said he hasn't move them.

  • sjetski

    Too much water can do that, low temps will make it even worse, especially if it hails from a warm and arid region. Whatever the reason is, i sort of doubt that fertilizing weakened plants will help, i'd tell him to hold off, unless he wants to try a very weak formula.

    After the soil has dried out some, he can start bottom watering them instead.

    Thanks for posting all of the extra pictures by the way. And try to keep us updated if you remember. This thread may very well end up becoming the default go-to thread for this variety, so all follow-up info would be much appreciated.

  • jjarvis98

    Seeds Came.

    I also picked up a packet of Habaneros and a "Planter's Pride" starter kit from Menards. I followed the instructions and soaked each of he pods in water, drained off the excess water. I started 3 rows of Dalle, 2 rows of Hab. 2x seeds per pod. It didn't mention if I needed to cover them so on 1/2 of everything I poked around with my knife and put a slight amount of 'dirt' over the seeds. Sprinkled a bit of water over the whole thing and set it next to my west facing door that goes to my porch.

    AC in my apartment is set to 80 and the porch door gets sun (filtered through blinds) from 1 until ~8 pm. Should I set it out in the morning so that it gets nice and warm (It's 88 right now, high of 95) and pull it in to avoid direct sun light for germination? Or just leave it by my door 24/7? I'm guessing keep the pods moist for germination? Hopefully out of 12 pods I can get ONE plant going.


    (Click any of the images to enlarge).

  • misterwilk

    Hi there! Awesome job with the dalle's! My roommate is from Sikkim but lives in the states now. I went back with him 2 years ago to visit his family and do some hiking.

    Dalle is my absolute favorite pepper ever!! We ate so much of it over there, it is used in almost all Sikkimese cuisine as a condiment, as well as in a number of dishes called "chilli", ie. chicken chili, sheep chili, etc. We hiked and travelled throughout the country and everywhere there was dalle, usually homemade with different recipes, sometimes fresh, sometimes fermented or pickled, but always amazing...so tasty and flavorful and a spicy kick that will put your head in the clouds!

    My favorite was whole fermented green and red dalle in oil with yak cheese, mmmmmmmm!!!

    I brought 4 jars of it home and ran out after a year. Please keep me updated on the progress of your dalle's! I'd love to hear if you have success in Indiana. I live in DC and have just started growing peppers myself, I am totally hooked. I would love to grow dalles! Moving to Chicago this summer and hope to continue.

    Also, I will ask my roommate if he knows anything about growing them, or if he knows anyone in Sikkim who does.

  • nomads


    Just saw this now - so hope this helps. The chili you are trying to grow comes from the eastern regions as you note, and tends to produce fruit between the seasons Bhadra to Kartik ie. mid August through to mid November, so roughly towards the end of the rainy season. It fruits during temperatures around 20 degrees C and night temps of about 12, the then during the winter months it goes dormant, with temps between 8 and 13 C. To encourage more fruit and growth, feed it some tomato feed if you can find it locally, or make your own with comfrey leaves. I grow it here in South Africa and in summer we get temperatures of about 32 degrees with humid conditions and it survives well. An important thing though is to pinch out the growth point early and make it bush out to develop hard wood. Good luck!

  • Pacific_Boy

    I have started up a farm, already planted 930 saplings, 200+ already in fruition, and another 300+ to be planted from the nursery. Interesting colour your Akabare chilli tirned out, mine just goes from green then a little of bit yellow close to the ste, then red straight away once ripe. Farm location, Kolombangara Island, West Province, Solomon Islands.

  • Pacific_Boy

    I will try keep your forum updated, the best I can.

    This post was edited by Pacific_Boy on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 5:53

  • Namsami A Thegim

    Jjarvis hope this would help...dalle began to fruit in around august upto december and during those time temperature in Sikkim is min 11 and max 24or28 degree something. But we are careful not to touch or move too much the plant when the leaves are wet or after the rain. In many places dalle plants are kept in greenhouse or shed and in my home we keep them always in balcony since we live in Gangtok so no open farm. Once plant started producing dalle chilly plant will last for two years giving chilly for two times but during winter that is dec to mar plant remain leafless but at around April again new leaves come. And here we don't water the plant daily do it once In two or three day also make sure soil in the pot is not so wet and yes they need few hours of sun too but not at the time when the plant has just been watered. If cow manure is possible then its good if no then even the fertile soil will do. Here in Sikkim village farmer worry about the spoilage of dalle plant whenever there's long continuous rainfall for many days so u get the idea too much of water is not good for it.

    All the best.

  • Steven Yohe

    My son is from Nepal and his greatest loss he complained of leaving Nepal was the lack of dalle khursani. Luckily, he managed to have a friend send a few dried ones, which we seeded and planted. I keep a green house in the basement to overwinter produce because I think he would die without them. This year due to an unexpected late frost in PA, we only had about 26 plants left, but our yields were pretty good. A green house basement is the key, and if you plant outside in a flat area, make sure you mound up the dirt and plant them above ground level at least 8-12 inches so they can't drown during heavy rains for a few days.

    -- Better yet is to plant them in a tall 5 gallon bucket with the bottom removed and holes drilled in the sides of the bucket to induce air pruning. I buy these plastic containers with all of the holes already in them, line them with a breathable landscaping fabric and then fill with dirt. You can look on You Tube for directions for gutter watering systems. My plants from the garden last year, with cheap grow lights reached over 6 1/2 feet tall with lots of flowers and some fruit, but the plants were very weak even with fans blowing on them for hours each day. All of my plants this year were each grown over the winter in the basement with less than a gallon of dirt for the small ones, and 1.5 gallons of dirt for the bigger plants. When I pulled them out of the air pruning experiment they were not root bound at all. Indeed the whole plant was like a million healthy roots. So GLAD I watched those videos. If you can plant at least 8 inches of your root ball above ground level (providing you have long enough roots or that the roots grow deep, which they will, then you don't have to worry about losing them to a mild flood.

    This year I added more reflective Mylar sheets, cheap on Amazon.com..

    I've also decided to upgrade the lights to CMH 315 bulbs and fixtures.. 2 of them are installed and for only 189 bucks on Ebay (search for CMH 315), I might add a third. Last year I was using 1870 watts (+ or -), and these two CMH bulbs put out far more light and much much much better spectrum, including UV to harden the plants as they grow, and they consume 1/3 the amount of electricity as last year.

    I'll soon be digging these up and bringing them in again for the season, alas I only have room for about 12-14 in my greenhouse... The others I give to other enthusiasts, and then in the spring I will plant more seeds and keep them near windows..

  • Khem Fatimi

    I live in Long Island, born and brought up in Darjeeling. I have Dalle plants which produce abundantly. I take them in in the fall. The plant is a bush Upton 4 feet. Plants from seed take about 5 months to produce chicken manure makes the chillies hotter. I can give you some seeds if you need them Khem

  • Ashley Morales

    Steve and Khem, I have started my dalle khursani plants indoors and 9 of the 10 seeds have come up, and some now have 8-10 leaves and are about 3" tall. I have a few questions that I'd really appreciate some help with as I'm new to growing plants from this climate:

    Is now (3" tall, 8-10 leaves) a good time to transfer to larger pot (I'm in Texas and it's way too hot to put them in the ground outside)? And if so, what size would you recommend?

    I would like to do a setup similar to Steve's, only I would have them either in the garage or the spare bedroom. Other than controlling the temperature and lighting via the lamps, is humidity important? I noticed Steve mentioned fans...was this a problem with the new grow lamps and air pruning issues were solved?

    Are there any "rookie mistakes" to avoid with these chilis using the grow lamps (i.e. use a specific duty cycle, keep them X feet away from the top leaves, etc.)? Any tips would be greatly appreciated :)

  • pdu2503

    Is it too late to start planting dalle khursanI seeds this year? Also, ditto on the tips. I’ve only started growing peppers this year and can use all the advice/help you can give.

  • Ashley Morales

    pdu - if planting outside in the US, definitely, but I plan to keep these completely indoors, which is why I'm hoping for some guidance about how to successfully do that (everything I've grown so far - including warmer climate chilis - has been outdoors)

  • Khem Fatimi

    I live in Long Island and bring my plants out around May when danger of frost is out. My three plants—bushes are three years old. They have started producing abundantly. A dilute solution of Magnesium salt help production..I use mine to make delicious hot sauce which I use for Christmas gifts. Khem Fatimi

  • Khem Fatimi

    If you are planning to take them out be sure to acclimatize them otherwise they will get sun burned. Leave them in a shady area for a few days, then a few hours of sunlight, gradually increasing sun exposure. Spraying with cool water will help

  • Ashley Morales

    Thanks Khem, I'm looking to grow mine completely under a grow lamp, like Steve above. If that becomes unfeasible, I will try your method - how large of a pot are you using? My plants need to be potted into their own pots soon and I'd prefer not to repot them several times (unless that's the correct way of doing it?)

  • G S


    I was enjoying reading this thread, but thinking it was a bit dated. Then I realized that the last few posts are quite current.

    I am new to the wonderful Dalle chilis, having been given some seedlings by a friend who grew up in Nepal. I potted the seedlings in a mixture of potting soil and cow manure, and placed them in in indirect sunlight under my carport in early June.

    Here it is late August and none of mine (12 plants) have flowered. My friend, on the other hand, has peppers on his.

    Hearing that his are all growing in direct sunlight, I realized that maybe putting them in the shade was not such a good idea. So I moved them to the back yard, gradually as I read hear that they could be shocked by too much direct sunlight too soon.

    They're acclimated to the light now, and continuing to grow, but no flowers, no peppers.

    Here in Columbia, SC the Summer seems to be winding down.

    Have I missed the season, or might they still produce?

  • Justecila

    Since its a dalle khursani chilli threads- i wondered if anyone knows akabare khursani or are they the same

  • Daniel Craig

    They are the same. My son has 250 plants this year. His Indian friends call them akabar, his Nepal friends call them dalle

  • Daniel Craig

    Ashley sorry as we were away for away. The fans served two purposes.. Assist with air pruning oxygen exchange and to strengthen the plants so they aren't weak and spindly when I plant then outside.

  • Steven Yohe

    Regarding the lighting... I now have 4 CMH 315 lights in the basement greenhouse. I was thinking it would give me more yield and indeed, it was...Until the aphids attacked again while we were away on vacation. Had to airship lady bugs in and have them in the basement. Also because this was an exceptionally cold winter we just had in PA, the basement never got above 54 degrees for weeks at a time... Inside the greenhouse while the lights were on it would reach 68-70 , but all of my leaves were wrinkled and not producing much. This was caused by the cold temperature at night that prevented the leaves from pulling calcium up to the leave as it was being formed over night in the darkness. There are many videos on that on YouTube as well.

    One thing that my son did, which amazed me, was he took what I thought were dead branches and put them a large plastic tub of soil. Some had a few leaves and others had none. Essentially they were just dead branches that were hit with the frost in late October here last year. To my amazement, he kept watering them for a few weeks and then gave them a dose of Epson salt (2 teaspoons per gallon. In about a week these dead branches started to produce leaves. Out of the 10 he planted, 7 produced plants which we have put in the garden already this year...

    The biggest rookie mistakes is under-watering to keep them moist and having the lights too close and burning your plants. THEY LOVE WATER, but it MUST DRAIN away in a few minutes. They do not like to be drowned. If you can't do the gutter watering, then plant in a large 5 gallon bucket with a 4 " layer of round aquarium pebbles at the bottom or small stones. Drill a small hole on either side of the bucket 3 1/2" above the bottom,just under the top of the pebbles. Then use medium potting soil to fill it up almost to the top. If you have the ability to cut a few three inch holes around the top of the bucket and can put landscaping material around the holes, that's perfect. Sit the bucket on something large enough to catch the catch the water coming out of the two small holes you drilled 3.5 inches up from the bottom... you can water it until it well soaked and the water is coming out of the holes. Once your plant is a little bigger, it will have sent roots all the way down in the stones to get to that reservoir of water. This way if you need to go away for a few days you can water the day before and it will hold water in the bottom for at least two or three days before asking for a nice soaking again.

    With my 4 315 CMH light, there is a lot of ambient heat coming off. I have to keep the top of the canopy of my plants them trimmed back to the point where if I put my hand on the top of the plant and I feel warmth, it's probably getting to tall. For my CHM lamps that is about 30 inches down, so they are up as high as I can get them. If I don't cut them back the get long and spindly growing up and the leaves are malformed a bit but they still produce a lot of fruit. Keeping them shorter and bushier turns them into a strong bush with a nice woody main stem.

  • Khem Fatimi

    The simplest thing to do is plant them in large pots. Trim well and bring them in for the winter. Mine are in the sun room. They don't get too many leaves indoors. Acclimatize them before putting them out in Late Spring. Give them a good feed of fertilizer and some Magnesium sulphate and you will have plenty of dallae in summer to last all winter, and have enough sauce to give away. Garlic peels soaked in water also help them produce more.

    I have 6 pots going on 5th year, which are about to flower They do well in the hot sun in summer. Pots should drain well and almost dry before watering. The stress helps them produce more.

    Hope this is helpful Khem from Long Island

  • Steven Yohe

    Khem, when you bring your plants in for the winter, how to you prep them for aphids and other garden insects?

  • Khem Fatimi

    Give them a good rinse before you bring them in. I trim mine later as there are still chilies on the plant and it is too cold outside. You can use Neem spray if you notice aphids

  • Steven Yohe

    okay yes that's what I do. I typically cut them way back, and also cut back on the roots. I wash all traces of dirt away from their roots, and then submerge them in my giant two wheel cart filled with water, using a chain to hold them under the water for 10 minutes, while the hose keeps running with cold water (52 degrees) and all the bugs either float up and run over the side or they just drown. then i get them out and immediately plant them in a sterilized planter with fresh new potting soil. I hit them with neem oil right away and then again 3 days later... that worked every year until last year... Maybe because my son took over and didn't follow one of the steps that I do...

    However, I don't know if I will have to overwinter anymore. There is a local green house that I supplied seeds to last year (I won first place in one of our state fairs) and provided the seeds to the greenhouse for free. They planted the seeds and kept them alive over the winter and then took those fruit seeds from the mother plants and planted them. This year we planted out our usual 15 Dalle Khursani trees, and then we purchased from Shenk's another 280 seedlings early in the season. So if I know that he will be growing them again over the winter for spring seedlings. I might save the $125/ month I spend on electric to heat and light the greenhouse, OR I might switch to tomatoes. The dalle peppers freeze so well that I can keep them for upwards of two years with no degradation in flavor or heat.. But tomatoes... THOSE are hard to find that are tasty and fresh, so I'm thinking I should grow THOSE in our basement over the winter with maybe one or two dalle trees... Still haven't fully decided.

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