Monday, June 28, 2010

Not another chilli sauce, surely?

Yes. Indeed. My love of chillis knows no bounds, and I just picked the last peppers of the season. (In case anyone was wondering, a "peck" is a quarter of a bushel; considerably more than the quantity I picked. Oh. A bushel is 8 Gallons.)
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...?


  1. OMG I love the sound of it, hot food is great!! I also think it would go well witha really strong crumbly cheddar and some fresh bread!!

    Georgina :)

  2. I am sunbathing from the heat generated from just looking at your picture!

  3. All those chillies and all you got was two jars - but i bet they pack a real punch in the mouth. I would love a taste. Fiery - the thought of it is just making my mouth water and my nose.

  4. fiery feasting!! and excellent piccys!

  5. oh, my friend. we are united in the love of the chilli are we not? so glad to see your lovely, enthusiastic nature regarding food and fun is not in any way dampened by time, age or living in the new world!
    big love UP!!! XXX

  6. Lovely Leigh! We are still loving the new world we've made for ourselves in the New World! We can't wait to have you over here to see us! Lx