Last night I was round at our friends, N&S, watching the All Blacks beat Wales, and snacking all the while on antipasti. It was delicious. One of the little dishes was a homemade chilli pickle, made with some Scotch Bonnet peppers that S had grown. These peppers, traditionally, are very hot, but these provided more of a "Russian roulette" approach to the proceedings, with the occasional one being a sudden blast of fire, the others being tasty, but no hotter than, say, a glass of water.
So I was inspired. I took our remaining chillis (about 300 birds-eye Thai chillis, and another 40 slightly under-ripe Habaneros)
not quite a peck of peppers, shortly to be pickled.
and am currently stewing them whole in wine, cider vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. I've put a handful of garlic cloves in there too, and some lime zest, and I'll simmer them all until the garlic and chilli is soft. The smell is acrid and pungent, somewhere between a delicious pickle and an industrial accident.
do not inhale directly. If swallowed, seek medical attention.
Once they are stewed, I'll have to decide what's next; do I strain them through the mouli to make a smooth paste, or do I bottle them crushed but whole, seeds and all, for a mouth-burning pickle? If I leave the seeds in, I'm sure the heat will persist all the way down the digestive tract; I suspect I'll sieve them out.
Normally, I'd try to keep the cooking time to a minimum; the longer the cooking the milder the sauce becomes. But this time, I think I can go for a long cook, as the heat and pungency are at an all time high with this combination. And I already have some really hot sauce.
Decision time (the next day...)
I took out some of the softened whole Thai chillis, de-seeded them, chopped them up and returned them to the strained sauce to add a little texture. The result? This is probably the most pungent, and fieriest sauce I've made so far. I gave LW an old pole I rescued from a nearby barge, and she refused to touch the jars with it. So it is hot. I think it might make an excellent ingredient; it's been cooked so much that I could add it to a mild curry to make a hot one at the table. That sort of thing.
2 jars. With chilli sauce inside. Or is it jam...?