100 Vegetables: #38. Chillies

Chillies – fresh, preserved, dried, powdered – where would we be without them? Red, green, orange, yellow, purple – Mexican, Indian, SE Asian. Elongated, round and bubble shaped, long or short. Mild to hot to extremely hot.

Whatever the form, they bring life to a dish. We have so many recipes featuring chillies – here are some of them. Enjoy.

You can browse all of our Chilli recipes here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Hawaiian Chilli Water

Oh my, this has become my favourite drizzling sauce for this Winter – over soups, vegetables, into dals, on tofu and paneer, on rice, in sandwiches and sauces, with lentils and bean dishes — anything! I mix it into amazing dressings. It is a condiment or hot sauce that is very popular with Hawaiians and has a range of variations on the common base of chillies, garlic, vinegar, salt and water. As well as a condiment, it is also used as a drink to sip, and as a sauce. Many Hawaiian homes keep Chilli Water on their table, and guest will bring a bottle of their own home made Chilli Water to leave with the host.

Why does it work? We know that an acid or sour flavour – vinegar, lemon juice, bitters, tamarind etc – enlivens any dish. Chilli adds interest and heat. Salt brings out flavour. Garlic adds bite and deeper flavours. If you add bay leaf or soy sauce they provide grounded earthy flavours (umami). All of this in one bottle of sauce that is composed mostly of water!

Similar recipes include Grilled Pineapple with Chilli and Basil, A Collection of Chilli Pastes and Sauces, and Chilli Olive Orange Salad.

Browse our Chilli recipes and all of our Sauces. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Collection: Delicious Chilli Pastes and Sauces

Where would we be without Chilli Paste? Our kitchen boasts 2 or 3 different ones at any one time, plus of course red and green chillies in the freezer, chilli flakes and 3 different chilli powders. We love a touch of heat in the kitchen, but not everyone has to go this far! A good chilli paste will be your godsend when you are looking to spice up a soup, sauce, pasta dish, dip, avocado mash, even a potato crush!

Browse all of our Chilli recipes, or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Balinese Sambal Dabo Lilang | Indonesian Tomato Relish with Lime, Chilli and Basil

Indonesian sambals are  fiery blends of fresh hot chillies and other seasonings that are used as relishes or condiments throughout Indonesia. There are dozens of different sambal recipes; some raw, and some cooked. A sambal is served in much the same way we might use sriracha or tabasco sauce.

They are generally easy to make, especially the raw ones, and this sambal takes no more than 5 minutes. The onions and chillies cure in the lime juice, making it incredibly delicious. Drizzle it over everything for spicy hot flavours. This recipe is the same as Sambal Iris, except that it has basil added to it. It changes the flavour and makes it even more delicious (if that is possible).

Similar recipes include Balinese Sweet Red Rice, Chilli Jam, Chilli Paste, Sambel Tomat, Sambal Iris, and Sweet Chilli Sauce.

All of our Chilli dishes are here, or you might like our Balinese recipes. We have some Sambals here too. Or explore our Late Spring collection of dishes.

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Sambal Tomat | Vegetarian Version of Balinese Tomato Chilli Sambal

This is a great Balinese Sambal based on tomatoes and shallots. It has been vegetarianised, using miso and seaweed flakes to add the salty sea taste to the sambal. This is not so unusual as miso, tofu and tempeh are made in Bali backyards.

You can add other items to this sambal, such as diced eggplant, ginger, curry leaves, even watercress and nuts. This is the basic version, and it can be served with any meal e.g. white rice, nasi lemak (Balinese Coconut Rice), nasi minyak (Balinese ghee rice), thosai, roti chanai.

Similar recipes include Hawaiian Chilli Water, Balinese Sambal Dabo Lilang, Chilli Jam, Chilli PasteSweet Chilli Sauce, and Balinese Sambal Iris.

All of our Chilli dishes are here, or you might like our Balinese recipes. We have some Sambals here too. Or explore our Early Autumn collection of dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Preserved Sweet Chillies | A Sweet Chilli Jam

These sweet chillies are a variation on Sweet Chilli Sauce, – red chillies are simmered in a sugar solution until tender, and then stored in a glass jar. I will usually make small portions as it is an easy recipe, using a dozen or so ripe chillies from the garden. The preserve is then used over the next few days as an accompaniment to dishes. It is pretty delicious, especially with anything involving rice.

The syrup thickens like a jam or jelly, creating an interesting texture as well as flavour. The trick is to avoid over cooking otherwise you will have chilli toffee. The clearish jelly is strongly chilli flavoured, and the chilli pieces add texture and more heat. You will really enjoy this one. Today I used ripened chillies from the purple jalapeno chilli plant in the garden.

I love to serve this preserve on a cheese board (you have to be a chilli lover) and also mix it into creamy salad dressings.

Similar recipes include Green Chilli and Coriander Paste, Hot Sweet Chilli Jam, and Sweet Chilli Sauce.

Browse all of our Chilli dishes and all of our Preserves. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Chilli Soy Sauce and Dipping Sauce

Our garden features several well-bearing chilli bushes, and we do a number of things with them. Firstly, we freeze some, whole, for use during winter. We use them in our cooking of course, especially Indian dishes. Some red ones are dried for use as dried chillies in Indian food during the year. Chilli jams, sauces and pastes are made. And we pretty much use them in everything else.

Today’s recipe is a very simple, Asian condiment, which soaks fresh chillies in soy sauce, to be drizzled over, well, pretty much everything. I love a good stirfry and rice, and with abundant amounts of this condiment to drizzle and to dip. Imagine dipping some deep fried tofu in this sauce! Also good over noodle dishes and vegetables. Try it with samosas, or Chinese Scallion Pancakes.

Similar recipes include Sesame-Chilli-Soy Dipping Sauce, Broth and Dipping Sauce for Noodles and Tofu, Preserved Sweet Chillies, Balinese Sambal Iris, Tomato and Chilli Jam, and Chilli Pastes.

Also try Onion Jam, and Zhug.

Browse all of our Chilli dishes and all of our Sauces and Condiments. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Green Chilli and Coriander Paste | Chilli, Garlic and Coriander Chutney

This recipe is for a chilli, garlic and coriander paste that can be used as an accompaniment to dishes and full meals (like an Indian style chutney), and as a flavouring for food. Stir it into steamed rice, for example, or into any curry. It works particularly well with coconut milk based spicy dishes. Have it on the side of rice or curries, drizzle it into soups, spread a tiny amount on a sandwich, smear a little onto a snack.

Keep it handy too for spreading on your sandwiches and toast (try it with cheese!), and as a dip for snacks and finger food. It also goes well with idli, vada and other Indian snacks. We are claiming this as an Indian style chutney, although it does vary a little. Nevertheless, it is every bit as delicious as any Indian green chutney.

The paste keeps well in the fridge if tightly covered and avoid using a wet spoon when using the paste.

Similar recipes include Hawaiian Chilli Water, Balinese Sambal Tomat, Coriander Paste, Zhug, Chilli Jam, and Chilli Paste.

Browse all Chilli recipes, and all Pastes and Purees. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Indian Essentials: How to Dry Chillies and How to Make Chilli Powder

Chilli powder is ubiquitously available in Indian groceries, so little thought is given to grinding your own. But the benefit of making our own chilli powder is that we know that it is unadulterated.

Chilli powder is used in many parts of the world, from South America and Mexico, to Italy, through Spain into Hungary and Eastern Europe, across the Middle East, through India into China and Korea and across the ocean into Thailand, Vietnam and the rest of South East Asia. Chilli powder can be made with whichever chillies are your favourites.

When we speak of Chilli Powder, we mean powdered chillies without any additions – herbs, seeds, spices or nuts. If your preference is to include these, follow this basic recipe and grind your additions with the chillies.

Read more about Chillies, and about Using Chillies in Indian Food.

Similar recipes include Harissa, Goan Chilli Paste, and Red and Green Chilli Pastes.

Browse all of our Chilli dishes and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Hot Sweet Chilli Jam | A Chilli Paste to Die For

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.

Similar recipes include Preserved Sweet Chillies, Green Chilli and Coriander Paste, Chilli Jam with Deep and Complex Flavours, Red and Green Chilli Pastes, and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Browse all of our Chilli recipes and all of our Pastes, Purees and Jams. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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