Saturday, 18 February 2012

A glut of chillies (3)

Some of today's chilli pick
  • red chillies and the odd green one- about 300gms
  • big pile of eggplant
  • some yellow-green chillies
Another sublime day of sun and zephir breeze. All is well with the universe.

I don't normally weigh my pick but as I intend to make what I call, 'rocket fuel' today, I need to know what I am playing with.  Rocket fuel is a chilli paste or sauce I guess but this chilli paste could easily also be called, 'Devotional chilli paste'. You will see why  below - I need to crack on. The newly picked 300gms of red chillies joins two containers of chillies that have been in the freezer from picks earlier this season.  Total - 600grams!

Rocket fuel chilli paste
Today's pick
A friend of mine gave me this recipe some years ago now.  It was given to me as a photocopy from a cookbook and I can't say which book it was from, I give you the original amounts here. The original recipe calls this 'chilli jam', but it should be called what it is -  rocket fuel - its powerful and not very jammy.

A few jars last you forever - or last me forever. The last time I made it was three years ago and we only just finished the last of it a few months ago.

My Malaysian work mate gets thru a jar pretty quickly and says it reminds her of an authentic chilli sauce that goes with such and such a Malaysian dish, I will have to ask her which one and will have to pass her a jar as well.

The 600 gms of chillies makes for an easy calculation - divide by three.

1.5 kgs large red Chinese chillies*, chopped
300g red bird's eye chillies*, chopped
(I use whatever chillies I have) 
8 brown onions, chopped
15 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 litre vegetable oil
300 mls tamarind liquid (get some tamarind paste and soak it in water until it breaks up and remove the large seeds)
125 g palm sugar, shaved
extra vegetable oil for sealing

Blend chilli, onion, garlic and oil into a smooth paste in a food processor. Be careful when opening the lid in case it splashes into your eye. The smell can be pretty overpowering to, so be careful of your nasal mucous membranes (and other sensitive bits too!).

5 jars of rocket fuel
Cook paste in a wide and heavy pan with a solid base over a very low heat until it turns dark red. This can take some time - the recipe says 12 hours, but from memory I gave up earlier than this the last time I made it and the result was fine.You will need to stir occassionally so it doesnt stick. After 12 hours (or when its redish and you have had enough!) stir in tamarind liquid and palm sugar and cook for another two hours. Spoon into sterilised jars cover with a film of oil and store.  Pop in the fridge when you open a jar. The recipe says it stores for 3 months in the fridge.

What do I use this with? All sorts of Asian meals and I also put just a tiny  little bit into tomato-based pasta sauces.  It adds real depth to the flavour without necessarily being hot.

So here is the result.  After 7 hours cooking I had had enough and popped it into jars. I tasted it and it is just like it was before. Not sure what it would taste like after 12 hours - I guess I will never know!

So far this season, in addition to this recipe, I have preserved the chillies in:


  1. This sounds absolutely delicious. I think I may need to wait until Mr 2 gets a bit older, having to watch him constantly because the stove was on for that long would drive me absolutely mad. I've been really enjoying your chilli series, I have a heap that I plan on making into Sambal Oelek this week.

  2. Wow - That is amazing that you have so many! I think I might grow many more next year because they go so well in pots. I made the mistake this year of planting in partial shade, and it just doesn't work so well.

    I'm seriously impressed with your 'rocket fuel'. I can't wait to get enough Jalapenos to pickle.

    1. I have only 5 plants of these smaller chillies and the long cayene. They have been productive. Next year I might try some in pots like you freeing up some space in the bed.



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