Today we’re talking about “going with the flow.” Not trying to control everything. It’s true in life (I’m still learning this lesson) and it’s very true in the kitchen. Because when you let things just unfold, lots of times they’re better than what you were expecting! (Cue Rolling Stones song: ” You can’t always get what you want … but you just might find, you get what you need.”)
What I wanted: Chili pepper jam. I had no idea what I would do with chili pepper jam, but we had oodles of chili peppers and I was determined to make a jam, and to preserve it correctly in cute little jars to give as gifts, dammit!
What I got: Sweet chili sauce. Oh you should have seen my disappointment when my jam cooled and was still liquid! “It’s ruined! How is anyone going to take me seriously talking about vintage kitchen skills when I can’t even make jam?!?” (It was one of those days.) But actually, it turns out that it’s more useful as sweet chili sauce. It’s delicious in Asian-inspired dishes, stir frys and as a glaze on chicken. I now have lots of sweet chili sauce. In cute bottles. That I could give as gifts, but it’s so yummy I am keeping most of it for myself!
Here’s the recipe. I have no idea if yours will turn out as jam or sauce, but either way, it’s delicious!
Sweet Chili Sauce (or maybe jam)
Adapted from River Cottage Handbook #2: Preserves
750 g. red and yellow bell peppers, chopped.
100 g. hot chilis (jalapeno, cayenne, or whatever is growing on your plant!)
50 g. fresh ginger root, peeled, roughly chopped
350ml. apple cider vinegar
1kg. sugar with added pectin
50 ml. lime juice
1 tsp. salt
Slice peppers and chilis, removing seeds.
Put peppers, chilis and ginger in a food processor.
Place chili mix in a large pan, add vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Then add sugar, lime juice and salt, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture just starts to boil.
Boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Cool for another 5 minutes, then pour into sterilised jars and seal. Or, if you’re nervous about canning (like I usually am), just let the sauce cool, and store in 1/2 c. containers in the freezer. Remember to keep some in the fridge for immediate use, yum!
How to use: Use as a stir fry sauce, or as a glaze on chicken. It’s sweet but hot at the same time. Really tasty!