Just outside my back door, in a narrow strip of soil abutting the patio, is a healthy and highly productive chilli plant. Despite receiving very little water and no fertiliser, this chilli plant cheerfully produces bright green and red chillies all year round.
My guess is that it’s a jalapeno, although I don’t know for sure. I think the plant is self-seeded because I can’t remember intentionally planting seeds or seedlings
Apart from using the chillies fresh and drying them for later use, about once a year I make a batch of sweet chilli sauce.
You’d think sweet chilli sauce would be easy to make but I’ve had my fair share of disasters. One recipe was impossibly hot. Another burned and stuck to the pan. And a third ended up thick and toffeed, like over-cooked sweet chilli jam.
The recipe I’m sharing today is adapted from a Women’s Weekly recipe, but I consider it my own because I changed the number of chillies used and the method. Using my homegrown chillies, this recipe is hotter than commercial sweet chilli sauce, but I like it that way.
Note: you need to wear gloves when slicing chillies as they can burn your skin. And be careful not to rub your eyes if you have recently handled chillies.
- 6 red chillies
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- A knob of fresh ginger weighing about 20 grams, peeled
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 375 ml white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Wearing gloves, chop the green stem off the chillies then slice each one in half lengthways.
- Combine chillies and peeled ginger and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped and amalgamated. You could also use a mortar and pestle.
- Combine chilli mixture and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes in saucepan then pour sauce into hot, sterilised jars. Seal immediately.
- Keep opened jars in the refrigerator.