Made At Home – No. 5

Robin Boyle Home-Made, Preserves: Savoury, Recipe, South East Asian, Vegetables

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In reading the contents of this post, also check: Food Safety Is Paramount

Chilli Jam – A Spicy Standby

This recipe was provided to us some years ago by a friend who loved it so much she said: “I get withdrawals while away from home as I slather it on our breakfast eggs each day.”

There are many recipes for chilli jam. A challenge is to find one that is not too sweet. You might even consider using even less sugar for the recipe we give below. It is wise to put on food-handling gloves to avoid burning while deseeding and chopping the chillis.

Our friend says this is her basic recipe and she usually improvises each batch. The recipe has been written for red capsicum and red chillies, but our friend often omits the capsicum. The photos in this post are in fact of a version made using about 500 g chillies, and no capsicum. Thus, use your judgement regarding ingredients and adjusting the flavours of the jam towards the end: you might find it needs more chilli, more sugar, or other flavours like lime or lemon juice, or salt and pepper. Leave out kaffir lime leaves if they are not available. Aim for a jam that is a good balance of sweet (sugar), sour (vinegar) and hotness (chilli). Red capsicums do give a lovely ruby colour. Note that you could try a green chilli version too.

The “jam” will still be reasonably runny when cooked, but it will set somewhat when cooled. It is not necessary to have it set like fruit jam. This recipe makes quite a lot – 700 to 900 mls, and would last you for several months or longer. It is easy to make a smaller quantity. Store in sterilised jars or containers. Keep in the fridge, watching for spoilage, or freeze in small containers.


  • 500g red capsicum, deseeded and diced
  • 120g hot, small red chillies (or a mixture of red chillies) deseeded and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 to 1½ cups sugar, more or less as required
  • 1 cup brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • kaffir lime leaves (say 4 to 6, with tough veins removed, roughly chopped)
  • 1 lime chopped (seeds discarded)
  • 1 bunch coriander roots (or one whole small bunch coriander)


Place all in a pan and simmer till soft – 30 to 45 minutes, but don’t allow to boil over, or to catch.

Blend in the pan with a wand or transfer to a blender. Return to the heat and continue to cook until it thickens and becomes sticky, up to 20 minutes.

When cool enough, spoon or ladle into jars.

Equipment: Food handling gloves. Saucepan. Sterlised bottles, jars or containers.

Difficulty: 3/5, Moderately difficult. 30 to 40 minutes preparation, plus 60 minutes or so cooking.

Serve: As a condiment or ingredient for eggs, bacon, stir fries, Asian dishes and even pizzas and pasta.

Contributions welcomed!

If you have any preserve-like recipes you regularly make, we are happy to hear about them, and why they are worth doing.