Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Like clean streets and a great health system, the average Singaporean exile takes the humble chilli pepper for granted. It is not missed until one sits down for a meal, thousands of miles away from the sunny island, on another continent.

You take a few bites of whatever you're eating. It's all very delicious but you feel a certain something is missing. You can't really tell what precisely and then it hits you.

Where's the chilli?

And you look around and realise - no chilli. Ack! No wonder the food is a tad bland. No spice! No bite! No fun! Chilli is to the Singaporean (besides a good bargain) like what mayonaise is to the Dutch (who also enjoy the occasional bargain).

This was exactly the scenario five years ago. I've since remedied the problem at home by making my own chilli condiments and finding an excellent well stocked asian store. As chilli comes in various forms, I've decided to highlight the 2 staples found in my refridgerator - Pickled Green Chilli and Red Chilli Sauce (used mostly for chicken rice and noodles).

Here are my recipes:

Pickled Green Chilli

You need:

500g fresh green chilli peppers (the fresher the better)
500ml white vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

How to:
  1. Rinse green chilli peppers, slice and set aside.

  2. In a deep pot, bring water to a boil. Blanche sliced chilli peppers for not more than 15 seconds. Resist urge to leave it in for longer as this will result in soggy chilli. We do not want that.

  3. Remove chilli peppers from pot and drain well. Set aside.

  4. Using same empty pot, combine white vinegar and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add salt and sugar to taste. The above measurment is just a guideline, add more or less to own preference.

  5. Let simmer for a few minutes, turn off flame. Leave aside to cool completely.

  6. Once cooled, add in chilli peppers and mix thoroughly. Bottle into clean glass jars. These store well in the refrigerator, lasting for weeks at a time.


Red Chilli Sauce

You need:

24 red chilli peppers (again, the fresher the better), chopped
40g ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
4 tbsp vinegar

How to:
  1. Put red chilli peppers, ginger, garlic and water into a food processor. Blitz the whole lot

  2. Transfer the blended paste into a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil.

  3. Add vinegar. Season to taste with salt and sugar. If you prefer a thinner consistency, now would be the time to add a few tablespoonfuls of water.

  4. Simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off flame and leave to cool completely before bottling in clean jars.

Note: Both recipes can be halved or doubled. I normally halve the red chilli recipe since they don't store as long as the pickled ones and it's only me doing the eating.

* photo header of this entry is not me. I wish.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:08 am

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