Friday 21 February 2014

Salted Chillies

This has to be one of the simplest preserves imaginable.
Just two ingredients - salt and chopped up chillies. Mix them together and sprinkle a little more salt on top, that's IT!

They need to sit in a cool place for a couple of weeks, and then they're ready. Just keep them in the fridge once you've opened them and they'll last for months. They're incredibly versatile, and traditional in (Hunanese) Chinese cooking (so there will be some recipes here which call for them). You can use them as a seasoning, to just stir into something when you fancy a kick, or if you're cooking something which calls for fresh red chillies and you haven't got any in, they're a great standby. They're also a traditional condiment for certain oriental dishes. So, what are you waiting for?

 You can scale down these quantities to 1/2 or 1/4 to make a small jarful. These quantities should fit into a 500g jar (I used a medium sized kilner jar, which as you can see was a little on the large side!)

All you need is:

500g very fresh red chillies
75g salt

Wash and dry the chillies, cut off the very top with the stalks, and then roughly chop the chillies with the seeds (if you're slicing by hand I found it easiest to slice them up first, then partially chop them with a long knife, and finish with a hachoir! You could just whizz them up in a food processor if you prefer.).

Mix thoroughly with 60g of the salt, then place in a sterilised glass jar, cover with the remaining salt, and seal. Place in a cool place for a couple of weeks (ideally), then refrigerate. Should keep for month in the fridge.

You could just use fresh chillies in the recipes which will follow, and contain salted chillies, and add extra salt, but it's not as much fun as making your own, plus you won't get burny fingers (or worse) from chopping up chillies every time you need some!

If you want a small jar, just use 125g chillies, mix thoroughly with 15g salt, and sprinkle with a heaped teaspoon of salt once in the jar.

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