The clever little men behind WordPress put together a rather impressive annual report for Lardersaga which came winging into my inbox on New Years Eve. All sorts of fascinating information is disclosed, number of hits per day, where in the world they come from, where they found lardersaga, all in all, mind boggling stuff. Needless to say amongst all of this paraphernalia are the statistics for the most popular post, in others words the recipe that has been most frequently visited over the last 9 months. Am I surprised to discover it is ‘Sweet Chilli and Tomato Jam’? No, probably not. I mean did I ever tell you that chillies after all are addictive? Once bitten, totally smitten, applies to this one, honestly once you’ve made this jam you’ll never look back, it really is a classic larder staple, and very, very, very addictive. And judging by the traffic this post has generated I think it speaks for itself.
So baring in mind one of those ambitious resolutions was to cook something new everyday, (drat just conveniently realised the running failed to start last week), I dived into ‘salt sugar smoke’, to see what that wonderful matriarch on cooking, Diana Henry, had to say about chilli jams and sauces. One ‘Pepper and Chilli’ jam looked tempting but the recipe listed pectin which I certainly don’t have floating round my larder, further on I found a very simple recipe for a ‘thai sweet chilli sauce’, notably different from my previous ‘jam’ version this is one for dipping and dressing. Back in the Sugar&Spice kitchen we used to make a fabulously punchy one straight out of Peter Gordons’ ‘Sugar Club’ cookbook and this one was broadly similar but had slightly less ingredients. Apologies for getting nerdish about chilli sauces, clearly yours truely is addicted, the sad reality is homemade ones are just leagues ahead of anything you can buy off the shelf and this sauce, not unlike the ‘Sweet Chilli and Tomato Jam’ I shared with you last April, is just a firecracker, a stunning, cheeky little number to pull out and pep up the January blues.
This recipe is pip squeak easy to make and for anyone who loves a little Asian influence in their food, is the perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish or even a little healthy Thai salad. I took a few short cuts and pushed all the ingredients into a hand blender with the vinegar and fish sauce and gave it a healthy whizz before adding it to the caramel. It makes 2 jars and keeps in the fridge pretty much indefinitely. Unlike the jam, which is more in line with a relish or chutney, this really is a sauce, beware it will knock your socks off!
Thai sweet chilli sauce – from ‘salt sugar smoke’ by Diana Henry
6 large red chillies, 3 of them deseeded, all roughly chopped
5cm (2in)square piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
finely grated zest of 3 limes and juice of 2
12 garlic cloves peeled
1 large bunch of coriander leaves
300gms granulated sugar
50ml Thai fish sauce
120ml white wine vinegar
1. Puree the chillies, ginger, lime zest, juice, garlic, coriander in a food processor or handheld blender with the white wine vinegar and fish sauce.
2. Put the sugar in a heavy based saucepan with 6tbspn of water and place on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until the sugar becomes a caramel colour. Stir in the paste- it will spit- and simmer for 2 minutes. Leave to cool and then pour into sterilized jars. When cool, refrigerate.