Some like them hot, some like them hotter still – chillies can add gentle warmth to sweet jam, spice to tropical fruit, heat to an eggy breakfast or fire to a Caribbean pepper sauce
1 CHILLI JAM (ON THE COVER)
1hr+ A bold preserve that sits well with many dishes, from stir-fries and curries to mild, soft goat’s cheese. The secret is not to overcook it. It won’t set like a jam as there is no pectin, so use your judgment and keep tasting as it cooks and reduces.
Makes 5 x 200ml jars
125g garlic cloves, crushed
125g ginger, peeled and grated
60g medium-hot red chillies, stems removed
30ml red wine vinegar
½ tbsp salt
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Blitz the chillies with the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a saucepan with the other ingredients and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2 Cook for about an hour, stirring more frequently at the later stages, until the chilli jam has thickened and is a good colour.
3 Decant into five sterilised jam jars. Store in a cool dry spot and consume within six months. Melrose and Morgan’s Good Food For Your Table (Saltyard)
2 SICHUAN AUBERGINES WITH GINGER, GARLIC AND CHILLI
1hr+ Aubergine is a veg that can stand up to some spice; it’s particularly at ease with the Sichuan trio of ginger, garlic and a blast of chilli. Serve alongside a bowl of steaming brown basmati rice.
4 large aubergines (about 1.2kg)
A pinch of salt 100ml vegetable oil
For the sauce
2 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste
1 chile de árbol or
2 Sichuan chillies, crumbled
2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1 Cut the aubergines into rounds about 1-2cm thick, then cut the rounds in half. Sprinkle them with a little salt and leave to drain in a colander over the sink for at least half an hour, to draw out any excess water.
2 Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. When the aubergines are drained, toss them in the vegetable oil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the aubergines are completely soft and golden on the outside.
3 Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp water. Heat the oil in a large wok and when hot, add the chilli bean paste. As soon as it starts sizzling, add the
chilli, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a minute or two, taking care not to burn the chilli and garlic or the sauce will taste bitter.
4 Pour in the stock and cornflour paste and cook for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken, then add the sherry, vinegar and sugar and simmer together for a few minutes.
5 Pour the sauce over the aubergines and scatter with the spring onions and coriander. Thomasina Miers, Chilli Notes (Hodder and Stoughton)
3 BLISTERED CHILLI CAULIFLOWER
30 mins Quick and easy does it with this appetiser – sauteed cauliflower makes an excellent backdrop for a shower of chilli.