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!
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.
A Chilli Jam with extraordinary depth of flavours.
This Chilli Jam is more complex and refined that many others. Slow, slow cooking gives it an enduring and lingering natural sweetness which is enhanced with the addition of jaggery.
Although it is called a jam, it is not a spread unless you are a chilli fiend. It is closer to a Sambal or Chilli Paste. It is as hot as you can imagine chillies to be, and spread it on your toast at your peril. However, the long slow cooking intensifies the sugars in the ingredients and the heat is mellowed one compared to the heat of the raw or fresh pastes.