Some like it hot, some chilli

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - FOOD with Vicki Taylor

IAM a self con­fessed chilli ad­dict! I re­ally am. I have an ob­ses­sion for all things chilli. And I don’t have to be eat­ing it ei­ther. Ev­ery time I see a chilli – fresh, dried, hang­ing as a dec­o­ra­tion or oth­er­wise – my heart just sings.

Nearly seven years ago I opened Red Hot Chilli Pep­per in Bul­cock Street, Caloun­dra. De­spite my pas­sion for all things chilli I thought it was too risky to open a chilli shop, so I started as a bou­tique herb and spice shop. Fast for­ward to to­day and boy, the shop has changed! Why did I morph? Be­cause I lis­tened to my cus­tomers. They wanted chilli and I was happy to oblige! I now have the largest se­lec­tion of chilli prod­ucts in South East Queens­land, pos­si­bly even Queens­land now.

I’m al­ways on the look out for new prod­ucts for the shop and I par­tic­u­larly love the con­cept of Coun­try to Coast, sup­port­ing lo­cal grow­ers and pro­duc­ers of ar­ti­san prod­ucts.

One of my weak­nesses is chilli jam. I don’t nec­es­sar­ily have a sweet tooth but I just can’t get enough of it! I have two lo­cal brands in the shop (which are some of the best I’ve tried), from Maleny Cui­sine and Gourmet Afrika, both from the hin­ter­land.

Here’s a recipe I adapted a few years ago us­ing chilli jam. It’s quick, easy and ready in no time.

Chicken with chilli jam and co­rian­der Serves 4

In­gre­di­ents: ◗ 500g chicken thigh fil­lets, fat trimmed and thinly sliced ◗ 2 tbs peanut oil + 1 tsp ◗ 2 tbs Thai chilli jam ◗ 1 large brown onion, halved and cut into wedges ◗ 1 tbs fish sauce ◗ 1 tbs soy sauce ◗ 5 spring onions, thinly sliced di­ag­o­nally ◗ ¾ cup toasted cashew nuts ◗ 1 cup fresh co­rian­der leaves ◗ Bas­mati rice, to serve

Method: Heat 1 tbs oil in a wok over high heat. (Keep on high heat for the en­tire cook.)

Add half the chicken and stir-fry for 2 min­utes or un­til slightly browned.

Re­move from wok and set aside. Add in the other 1 tbs of oil and cook the re­main­ing chicken. Set aside.

Add in the last 1 tsp oil and the sep­a­rated onion wedges. Stir-fry for about 4 min­utes.

Re­turn chicken and any juices to the wok. Add in the chilli jam, the fish sauce, the soy sauce and the green spring onions. Stir-fry for 3 min­utes toss­ing/stir­ring reg­u­larly

Add in the toasted cashews and co­rian­der. Toss to com­bine be­fore serv­ing. Visit Vicki at Red Hot Chilli Pep­per, 9/65 Bul­cock St, Caloun­dra.

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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