Last night I was at a friendly little bar in Sandgate having a beer to cap off a pretty hectic week at work and unwind a little. The bar guy suggested the Thai take away next door for food and let me eat it at the bar. He then pulled out a jar of his home made chilli sambal to try out with my fried rice. It was pretty good. Spicy, fresh and tangy. I’m not a sweet chilli kind of guy. We got talking about how he makes it, what type of chillies he uses and where he gets them from (grows his own). How just the right amount can really liven up a dish. Kid doesn’t eat much chilli not surprisingly (a little is okay) so I always keep some on hand to add to my own meal. Next week I’m going to return the favour and take that friendly bar guy some of my own hot sauce for him to try.
Basic Hot Sauce – or as I like to call it – AWESOME sauce.
10 Long Red Chillies (I use cayenne because they are fleshy and readily available).
300 ml apple cider vinegar.
175 ml water.
1 tbsp. sea salt.
5 cloves garlic – chopped thin.
1 small brown onion – chopped thin.
2 star anise 1 tsp. cumin seeds.
Handy Hint -Toast the spices and use a tea holder to immerse them in the sauce. This way they can be easily removed removed upon completion.
Simmer the ingredients gently on the stove top for 25 mins or until everything is tender. Remove spices and blend really well with a stick blender or food processor. Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.
Green chillies work well also but won’t stay green.
You could make a kid friendly version by halving the vinegar, replacing some chilli for red capsicum and the salt for sugar.
If you like Thai food simmer some lemongrass and lime leaves and remove before blending.
For a peri peri feel add extra cumin, extra garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil and finish with some lemon juice.
Cardamon and curry leaves will give good curry feel.
How hot do you like it?
Chillies come in hundreds of varieties and vary quite massively in terms of flavour and particularly heat. Ask the supplier if you don’t know what your buying. Beware the Habenero, they are evil. The bulk of the heat in a chilli comes from the seeds and the pith (the white bit holding the seeds on) so if you want the flavour and less heat, just remove them. To do this cut the chillies lengthways and scrape the inside with a spoon. Avoid touching the insides and always wash your hands with lemon juice and cold water (hot water will activate the heat) , then hot soapy water afterwards. Don’t touch yourself or anyone you know anywhere sensitive for a little while just to be sure.
Trivia – the heat in chillies comes from a chemical called capsaicin and is measured by something called the Scoville scale. It begins around the 1500 mark and climbs to nearly 600 000 units. Tobasco sauce is rated at 3000 whilst cayenne are 50 000.
Chillies are high in vitamin c and antioxidants and rumoured to boost serotonin levels ( they make you happy).
What Kid did– Nothing. This is an adults one so she was probably reading an adventure story or playing in her room.