Sweet Chili Sauce
Let me tell you a little bit about the man I married.
Or one specific thing about him: his love for anything spicy.
I’m not just talking spicy, because I can handle a chilli pepper or two, I’m talking ‘are you effing insane’ spicy. The kind of spiciness that makes your tongue feel like it’s seized up and is going to stage a strike on you. The kind of spiciness that you see in videos on youtube where people start running around and washing their mouths out with anything they can find (I, by the way, have experienced this state, and it’s not pleasant.).
Especially when we go out for Thai food. He’ll order his food as spicy as they can be made (“you say ‘pet pet’ and then they know you’re serious,” says he). The first taste is always tentative, after which he’ll either shrug and say “eh”, or he’ll start hitting the table.
It starts as a gentle “oh, table”, playful tap, while he takes a sharp breath in. And then, he’ll nod a lot and say something like “yeahhh, THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about.” And then, he’ll eat some more, and will start to hit the table kinda hard. Like the table was late to class and forgot it’s homework and it’s 1960. But he’ll keep eating, and start to sweat a little, and the table hitting gets harder. Like the table has crashed your brand new car. “BAD table.” All the while saying things like “wooooh!” or “yeah!”. And he’ll repeat this until his eyes are watering and wild, and his hair stands on end, and the sweat pools at his feet. And he’ll walk out of there with a massive, mad grin on his face. If I saw somebody else leaving a place with a grin like that, I might think it were a brothel instead of a restaurant.
At some point during the meal, he’ll offer me a taste, and I decline graciously, while munching on my own moderately spicy meal and wondering what the hell I got myself into and also how much that table would cost to repair.
And I thought it was only him, until I met his dad, and we went out for Thai food. They both ordered their curries “pet pet”, and then they both started beating the table (BAD table). Saying “woooh” and “yeahhhh!”, while grinning at each other like they’d discovered that gravity was only a suggestion, or something equally cool.
At the market on Sunday, the chili peppers were in profusion, and so I brought a whole selection home, thinking that I’d do something fun with them. I started out planning to make a chili pepper jam of some kind. Something that would be delicious with cheddar on a hunk of bread. But I got a wild hair up my you-know-what*, and decided to make a sweet chili sauce instead. You know, the kind that comes in bottles in every grocery store, that spicy food lovers put on everything. Yeah, that one. But this one is better because you can control the level of spiciness. I used 50% super spicy peppers and 50% non-spicy peppers. And this sauce is forgot-your-homework spicy. I’m sure if you made it with enough habaneros or got hold of some ghost peppers you could make it “crashed-your-Ferrari” spicy. I’m quite happy somewhere in the middle. Though I have a feeling I’ll be making a habanero one for someone else by week-end.
Sweet Chili Sauce
makes 3 8-oz bottles
1.66 lb peppers (a mix– I used 50% spicy, 50% sweet)
1 oz peeled ginger
1 cup cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp salt
Chop the tops off, and de-seed all of the peppers.
Throw the peppers and ginger in a food-processor. If you don’t have a food processor, then just chop it all as finely as you possibly can, and it will have a slightly different consistency. Once pulverised, place the lot in a heavy-bottomed pan on the stove. Add the vinegar and lemon juice, and bring to boil over medium heat. Add the sugar and salt, bring back to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, and pour into sterilised bottles. If sealed properly, will keep for up to a year.