Saturday, May 22, 2010

experimental chilli sauce

I've had an excellent crop of chillis this year, thanks to a long dry summer and an excellent and diligent LW who does the bulk of the gardening.

Thai Chillis in profusion

Hungarian Bananas

The peppers ready for the pot.

The chillis we've harvested have been Cayenne, earlier on, and now, Habaneros, Thai bird's-eye, and Hungarian bananas. Each of them has their own wonderful attributes; I'm particularly fond of the Habaneros; they are fiery hot, but with a sweet tropical fruit base that makes them quite addictive.

Because the crop has been so prolific this year, I've been able to experiment a little with different sauces. Some have been a disaster; I made one sauce that combined chillis and tomatoes, but exploded out of the bottles despite rigorous sterilisation of the glass and the sauce. Some have been superb (even though I say it myself), my criteria being taste (of course) heat, and the propensity for the sauce to NOT create the classic "ring of fire" the next day. I've never been a fan of sauces with intimidating and "humourous" names and a reputation for indigestibility.

So, today I wanted to create a sauce with a bit of a twist; and it's sitting, stewing in it's own juices as I write this. Time will tell if it's a success, but I fear it won't be. I've tried to go for a more South-East Asian taste, using Belacan (dried shrimp paste), and Tamarind for sourness, but I also went all fusion mad, and infused the chillis in Gin, Mirin and cider vinegar. There's mustard seeds, for a different kind of heat, and anchovy paste (I really wanted to add Ikan Bilis, but couldn't find any- Kerikeri had a very short-lived Asian supermarket, now it's gone!) for a sambal sort of slant.

So, the starting ingredients may well have been wasted which is a shame, but I will let you know how it comes out. Even if it's a total disaster, I'll have had fun concocting it; it reminds me of my nerdy childhood with a chemistry set in the garage at home (do they still sell those?).

When I do get some dried anchovies, I think I'll stick to a well-tried sambal recipe.

So. The sauce tasted odd, but not irredeemable; it just lacked a certain something. Could it be sharpness? I added some lime juice and it was much more pleasant. So I bottled it. Look how much I made:



  1. Hi Lloyd

    Loving your food blog, it is really fab! I see you mentioned not having an Asian Shop near you anymore, have a look here
    it's the one we go to in CHCH and it's fab! They do online ordering now but if you ever want something picked up and sent North let us know :)

    Georgina & Andy

  2. Hello Georgina and Andy!

    Thank you so much for that link; I'll let you know if there is anything I need! Lx