Some years ago my friend Franz shared the recipe for a chilli jam he was making, and as I had chillies everywhere (in the freezer, on the bush, dried, drying), I made a couple of jars too. One I gave to my Thai friends, and they ate the whole (large) jar within a week. Oh my goodness! They loved the heat and the sweetness.
The other jar has been in the fridge all of those years. The reason is, we are always making chilli jams, pastes, purees…. There are always multiple jars open in the fridge and more containers in the freezer. This particular one came to the fore the other day when a sambal was needed for some okra with coconut rice. After the intervening time, the jam was still absolutely excellent (perhaps better for the maturing), and tasted incredible. I mixed it with some Chinese Chilli-Blackbean paste for an instant sambal.
Chatting with Franz, I told him the story and asked him to send me the recipe again. Catastrophe! Neither of us could find a copy! That made me search deeper and longer until I found it. Not wanting to lose the recipe again, we are posting it here so we know where it is! Please make and enjoy, it is amazing. I have tweaked the recipe a little to suit my preference and available ingredients.
Hot Sweet Chilli Jam
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
5 brown cardamom (must be brown, which is very different to green cardamom)
1 Tblspn brown mustard seeds
2 Bay Leaves (use Indonesian or Indian if you have them, otherwise Bay Laurel)
300 ml of Marsala (or Sherry)
50g jaggery or palm sugar
300 ml coconut or palm vinegar
300g mixed chillies (frozen, fresh, a few dried – use several or many different types of chillies to add to the flavour profile), stems removed, chopped either finely for a smoother jam or roughly for a coarser jam
2 tspn sea salt
6 Tblspn olive oil, peanut oil or Indian Sesame Oil
Rehydrate any dried chillies with hot water for several hours. Use the chillies soaking liquid too.
Heat the oil in a pan and add all of the ingredients. Cook over low heat until the liquid is evaporated and it has a jam consistency.
Place into sterilised glasses. It will keep in a cupboard for about 3 months, or indefinitely in the fridge. Once opened, store in the fridge. (I always store my preserves in the fridge anyway.)
recipe notes and additions
Add 0.25 tspn fenugreek seeds, toasted.