Saturday, 5 November 2011

Hot and sweet: more chilli sauces

I promise you that this is my second last post about this year's chilli harvest! Even though I still have 2kg of Twilight chillis in my freezer, they will all end up as one of 3 sauces, so after this there is nothing more to say on that subject. The very last chilli post is going to be exciting though. Really.

So, I think it is already pretty well established that my hot smoked chilli sauce is awesome. It is. You should try a drizzle of it on fried eggs and fried rice. However, it is also very, very hot and not everyone likes things quite that incendiary. I wanted to make a sauce that was punchier than the gloopy commercial sweet chilli sauces, but mild enough to be slung around with wanton abandon.

It's with some chagrin that I admit that this sweet chilli jam recipe is awesome, because it is a Rachel Allen recipe and I really cannot stand her on TV. My only changes to the recipe (and you knew there would be changes!) were to use 4 unseeded chillis instead of 2 seeded, and to cook it for a shorter time so that it was a pouring sauce consistency rather than a spooning jam. If you were making this with a vegetarian in mind, I'd use light soy sauce instead of the fish sauce, but you could just use some salt instead.

Each batch makes about 2 jars, and I am about to make my third batch - it'd be terrible to run out.

Of course, once you have a supply of sweet chilli sauce, you need vehicles for eating sweet chilli sauce. I do love the kitsch old block of Philly, topped with sweet chilli and coated in coriander leaves, served with Jatz crackers if at all possible. I adore the Australian pub way of serving potato or sweet potato wedges with bowls of sour cream and sweet chilli. But you can't live on dips and wedges alone, or so I am told. We have also dunked delicious chicken and courgette fritto misto in ramekins of this sauce and added a layer with the sausage meat in home made sausage rolls.

Eating sweet chilli also provided a very good excuse for making cheese croquettes (to access the recipe you need to be of legal drinking age. Weird). These cheese croquettes were one of my very favourite things at Epoque, the Belgian beer cafe in Sydney that I used to frequent. I recently found out that Epoque has gone into receivership, which is really shocking, so I urge you to go and buy a beer and some croquettes to show some support for an institution.

Having nailed the regular sweet chilli, I was lying back feeling pretty smug when I was hit by inspiration. My veg box had presented me with a punnet of plums, but we'd been eating too many desserts so I didn't really want to bake anything with them. Using the same recipe, with the same alterations, but also substituting plums for the tomatoes, would give me something good, I thought. When the plum puree, which was a pale yellow colour when raw, hit the saucepan I realised that there was something missing and chucked in a couple of star anise. Pretty quickly as it cooked the colour from the skins spread through the sauce to make it the appetising purple/red colour that you want from a plum sauce.

Again, very successful. Nicely balanced between sweet, hot, salty and tangy, with a subtle spice from the ginger and star anise. A piece of cinnamon wouldn't go astray either. And do you like my new jam labels? They were a birthday present - you'll be seeing more of them!

Served with barbecued pork shoulder steaks (the ones, leftovers thereof, that ended up in my miso stirfry) and a green salad with a vaguely oriental dressing, it is absolutely delicious. With spring rolls dunked in, sublime.


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I really like the sound of the plum one... so good as a dipping sauce, I can imagine.

Su-Lin said...

Haha! I can't stand her either. But dang, that chilli sauce does look good. I'm rather keen now to make homemade chilli sauces and ketchup next year!

Simona Carini said...

I enjoyed reading your post and I congratulate you on all the chilli-related activities. Your post also made me travel back in time, to my one and only visit to Sidney and our meals there. I'd like to go back, but it's not going to happen for a while.

The Cat's Mother said...

Chilli plum sauce is a great idea. Excellent colour.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Leafy - it's an excellent dipping sauce!

Su-Lin - She's one of the ones I just cannot watch.

Simona - Unfortunately it is going to be a while before I get there too.

Mother - it's delicious, you should definitely try it!

hungryandfrozen said...

Absolutely love the sound of the plum one. Wanton abandon indeed. I don't think I've seen much of Rachel Allan, my prevailing impression was that she resembled Katharine Heigl, but I've heard very good things about her.

I remember that chilli sauce and philly combination - very popular here a few years back, but always good.

Joanne said...

Sweet chili sauce is one of those things that I put on EVERYTHIGN when it's around. delicious!

~~louise~~ said...

I was just reading an article about entertaining with mini meals for the holidays. I think it was in Food Network Magazine. Anyway, it got me to thinking about all kinds of minis. The first thing that comes to mind when I salivate over your gorgeous sauces is...crab cakes!

As for that notion of Chili Plum Sauce, oh goodness, jalapeno poppers just flashes through my hot head!!!

Thank you so much for sharing your bounty of goodness, Foodycat...

Alicia Foodycat said...

Laura - she does resemble Katharine Heigl. Very attractive but an irritating persona.

Joanne - it's good stuff!

Louise - crab cakes are a brilliant idea!

mscrankypants said...

Chillis are the best, and my late Opa used to make the greatest croquettes.

I make a marinade for tofu slices with sancho pepper, soy sauce, lime juice and chilli sauce -- I think you sauce would improve it.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Yep, some day I will be seeing the Foodycat line of homemade chilli sauces and jams and the gourmet foods stores. ;-)


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