Yesterday, a friend gave me a bag full of chillies from her garden. Admittedly, I had no idea what type of chillies they were…. nor whether they were of the sweet variety, or are the type which emit nuclear heat!
So I set about doing a road test. I like to start by tasting the tip of the pepper (usually the coolest part of the fruit) and working my way up. Boy, these babies packed a punch!!! (not the kind of chili you can chop up without gloves on).
Another thing I needed to take into consideration is the fleshiness of the fruit, and it’s suitability for chutneys or jams. It goes without saying… different chilies can and should be used in different ways. The variety given to me by my friend were fleshy and extremely hot, which made them perfect for chutneys, salsas and jams.
We have put together a few Chilli recipes in the event that you too, may have a generous friend with bountiful offerings from the garden.
To eat with Cheese & crackers …
10-12 long red chilies
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp Fish sauce
4 cloves garlic
2-3 small glass jars
If you would like a chilli jam that packs a lot of punch, use the entire chilli. If you prefer a milder jam, remove the seeds from the chili prior to using.
Blitz and chop all the ingredients together using a mixer, or blender. Pour into a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring regularly to keep the jam from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Whilst you are waiting for the jam to cook, prepare your glass jars. Cook until the jam becomes sticky in consistency.
Add all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and measuring cup, 10-12 seconds / Speed 7.
Scrape down the sides then cook for 20-25 minutes / speed 1 / 100 degrees. In the mean time, sterilise the jars.
When making jam, chutney or sauce preserves, you must STERILISE the jars.
To do this, wash them with hot soapy water. Next, you can either boil them in water for 10+ minutes, or place them in your oven at 160deg for 15+ minutes. I prefer to place them into a cool oven and allow the temperature to rise steadily, preventing the possibility of the glass fracturing from sudden temperature changes.
Remove the jam from the stove and immediately transfer it to the sterilised jars. Twist the lid on firmly, and turn the jar upside down. (This sterilises the lid) Allow to cool and seal.
Store in your pantry cupboard until needed. Be sure to refrigerate after opening. This should keep for up to 6 months refrigerated.
Serve on crackers with your favorite cheeses!
Whether you like to drizzle it on your pizza, or add some to your wok when making your favorite stir fry, chilli oil is an easy way to spruce up any dish.
You will need:
A handful of hot chillies
3/4 – 1 cup olive oil
1 glass jar
I tackle the task of chopping chilies in a couple of ways:
Method #1: I use kitchen gloves to keep the chili juice from burning my fingers and line my chopping board with a few sheets of baking paper to prevent the heat from the chilies contaminating the chopping board.
Method #2: I hold the stem of the chilli pepper and cut it into chunks with kitchen scissors.
Combine the ingredients together and place into a jar. Place the jar into a small pot of boiling water, with the lid resting gently on top of the jar to avoid water from splashing into the oil. Allow to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. Tighten the lid, allow to cool then store in fridge until ready to use.
NOTE: You can expect any good olive oil to solidify, turning lumpy and appearing cloudy in the fridge. This will not affect the flavor of your chilli oil.