I thoroughly recommend having a jar of chilli Jam on hand in the fridge at all times, but particularly over the festive season. It keeps spice fiends like me happy while catering to those who can’t handle the heat. For example, Saturday mornings in our house are reserved for bacon and eggs. With Heckle, it’s always poached eggs…at least 90% of the time at least (who knows who gave him this idea!). So, back to the Chilli jam which does wonders with eggs, and if you haven’t tried it before, trust me your life is about to get a whole lot better once you start playing with this wonderful stuff. It’s great on turkey, duck, chicken, pork… You get what I mean.
Heat is one of the things that you need to control and it’s easily done depending on the amount of birds-eye Chillies you use relative to the large red Chillies. If you want to have one for meats and sausages, I’d say use a couple more birds-eyes, but if it’s more of a breakfast thing that you’re after then we’ll use the little one’s sparingly. I have quite a few chilli types growing in my garden, from the feisty habaneros to the big reds. At harvest time, I freeze some, dry a lot and make this chilli jam with the rest.
Chilli Jam Recipe
25 large red chillies 3-8 small dried birds eye chillies 2 cups brown sugar 3 inch piece of ginger finely grated 6 eschallots (french onions) or 2 medium/large brown onions 1/2 red onion 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 6 cloves garlic Olive oil Salt and ground pepper
Start by soaking your dried chillies in a small bowl of water for 10 minutes , then get splitting and de-seeding your large red Chillies. Dice fairly finely. Prepare the same for your small birds eye chillies and put in a separate bowl. Wash your hands! Ha, otherwise you’re in for a world of pain…
Finely dice the eschallots/onions and the garlic, and melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan. Fry the onions and garlic slowly until clear and then add the diced large red Chillies, finely grated ginger and the brown sugar. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Now’s a good time to get a feel for how hot this will be and adjust to your taste. I recommend trying the mix and then adding your small chillies to lift the spiciness to a level that you’re comfortable with, start with about a 1/3 and work your way up from there (you may want to add a little more brown sugar if it’s not sweet enough for your taste). Then add the red wine vinegar and bring to a nice simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove half the mixture, grab your bar-mix or whizzer and puree. Add back to your original mix and then allow to cool. Spoon evenly into small sterilised jars that will seal air-tight, place in fridge, distribute to friends and family as you see fit, or… freeze for a rainy day.
So, you’ve now got something to play with on your eggs, on your steak, with your sausages, or on your sandwich…What are the other uses have you found?
Gordon Eckel, a foodie and (rock) wall climber extraordinaire. He worked in some of Sydney’s top restaurants, but decided that he liked cooking for his friends more, so ran away and joined the circus (aka managing Sydney nightclubs). Six years ago and after a few too many creamy pastas he weighed 105 kg with a ridiculously high cholesterol. He changed his eating ways, wore out a treadmill and dropped 25 kilos in three months. Now he is renown for cooking deceptively healthy food and for proselytizing about the marvels of the great Australian red.