Playing with Fire

In previous years I have made my chilli paste (or Sambal Oelek if you prefer the Indonesian name commonly used in Australia) by simply throwing chilli and salt into the food processor and then storing the resulting mix in the fridge. 

However this year I have been trying to do things a little differently.  Whilst the paste I used to make kept pretty well and was great to use in cooking, it was a little too harsh to add at the table which is where I now add chilli in deference to the kids non chilli loving palates. 

I felt I needed to find a recipe which cooked the chillies as part of the process of making the paste.  I found one on Best Recipes and adapted it a little as I was concerned that using just chillies would make it too hot.

For my first batch I used:

  • 200g chillies and capsicums (I used about 150g chillies and 50g capsicum)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tblspn vinegar (I used apple cider)
  • 1 tblspn oil

Place the water and the chillies into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  Cook until the water has almost evaporated.  Cool slightly.  Place into a food processor with the remaining ingredients.  Whizz until you have a paste.  Place into sterilised jars, seal and store.

The jar on the left is made using this recipe.  It tasted good, you couldn’t taste the vinegar or the sugar but both will help preserve the chillies.  I was a little concerned that the oil will cause it to go bad more quickly so for the next batch I left it out.  I also felt that although the heat in the first jar was adequate I didn’t think a little extra heat would matter too much so the next batch I made with just chillies.  I also doubled the amount of salt to help with preservation.   This is the recipe for the second batch, pictured on the right:

Sambal Oelek

  • 200g chillies (a mixture of very hot, hot & mild varieties)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tblspn vinegar (I used apple cider)

Place the water and the chillies into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  Cook until the water has almost evaporated.  Cool slightly.  Place into a food processor with the remaining ingredients.  Whizz until you have a paste.  Place into sterilised jars, seal and store.

The second batch is great, hot but not unbearably so, and the cooking of the chillies means its not nearly as harsh as non cooked versions.  I don’t imagine I’ll have any problems finishing my jars before they go bad.

To see how others use their harvest click onto the Gardener of Eden.

This entry was posted in Chillies, Capsicum & Eggplant, Recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Playing with Fire

  1. Gardenglut says:

    Gosh, how yummy and simple! You have lots of chillies… mine are on the wane now. I will miss them terribly when they are over.

    I think I am going to use the last of my chilli produce on the weekend to make harissa. But I might get taken down a sambal oelek path…

  2. BumbleLush says:

    Oh I’m going to make chili paste this year! My husband loves chilis and we grow them every summer. I can’t wait to start my seeds. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

  3. Mark Willis says:

    Cor! What wouldn’t I give for a REAL Indonesian meal (one made and eaten in Indonesia, I mean). Still, in the absence of such an opportunity, I shall have to admire your Sambal Oelek from afar…

    • Liz says:

      I know, I love Indonesian food – but have only tried to make a couple of dishes at home. Like many cuisines it does generally taste best in its homeland where the ingredients are fresh and suited to the climate etc.

  4. I hope you wore glovers! I once made the mistake of preparing chillies without and boy did I suffer for it

    • Liz says:

      I did that preparing Scotch Bonnets once and it took a good day for my hands to return to normal – fortunately these chillies are far milder than that.

  5. L says:

    The one in the right looks so much nicer, doesn’t it? Might be a bit hot for me personally. I think with that many chillies I would be learning to make a great Cantonese chilli sauce (yum cha style). Definitely my favourite chilli sauce. Actually, I do like sweet chilli sauce too. You can tell I’m a bit of a wimp, can’t you?

  6. Diana says:

    This is an item that must be in stock in our refrigerator. Because when I am lazy to cook. I usually fried chicken or fish with turmeric. Then fried the sambal oelek and coat the fried chicken or fish with it in the wok.

  7. Robin says:

    This is a great simple recipe. I really need to make some chili paste this year. We like the hot stuff around here.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. mac says:

    Yup this is the chili paste I keep in my frig, it’s so versatile, can’t live without it.

    • Liz says:

      I have been buying it for the last couple of years so I am really glad I’ve now found a home-made version that I really like.

  9. Jody says:

    We have a hard time sharing our garden space with jalapenos, but your recipe is very tempting.

  10. Looks so tasty! Thanks Liz for giving a comparison between the two variations-really useful.

    • Liz says:

      I always find it interesting how many variations there can be to a basic recipe and I do like to know which version I like best.

  11. Norma Chang says:

    I like the one on the right better. Will just need to remember to use less in the dish.

  12. kitsapFG says:

    Thank you for sharing these recipes as I really would like to make some hot pepper paste for use at the table like this. I particularly love how the second more simple recipe resulted in a much stronger color in the jar as well. Really beautiful to look at.

    • Liz says:

      I really like the second recipe – I was a bit put off making ones with vinegar in them in past but you can’t taste it at all.

  13. Wilderness says:

    Would love to make things like that but am allergic to raw hot peppers of any kind so can’t work with them unless they are first at least blanched. Sure does look good.

  14. Derek says:

    Sambal has a lot of garlic in it, and you did not put any. How can you call this Sambal?

    • Liz says:

      Hi Derek, My understanding is that there are lots of different chilli based sauces called sambal. This is an Indonesian one which can be made with or without garlic. Personally I prefer to adjust garlic levels according to the dish so I leave it out of my sambal but there is no reason you couldn’t add it if you prefer.

  15. Pingback: Homemade: No-Rooster Chili Garlic Sauce | Our Happy Acres

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