Entropy Kitchen: Sweet Sticky Chilli Jam

This is the first in the ‘Entropy Kitchen” series, in which you get a recipe for something related to this week’s kitchen science post, just because I love to cook!

So, Monday’s post was about why chilli produces a burning sensation, and today’s recipe is for an amazing chilli jam, which, trust me, does very much burn. This recipe actually comes originally from Good Food, but was adapted by none other than my baby brother. This is the first, and likely last, time you will see a recipe from him on these pages (unless we cover roast potatoes, which he is the King of). As I understand it, his adaptions mainly involved adding a LOT more chilli, so if you’re like me and you can’t stop those TRP1 receptors from shooting off messages of fiery pain at the slightest provocation, you might want to scale back the amount of chilli used here. Or stock up on ice-cream for afters!

This is a fairly simple recipe; it’s my first time writing up a recipe for this blog, so I thought I’d take it easy to start with. I have a slightly chaotic cooking style that doesn’t always translate well to the written word, as you may find out. We’ll give it a shot though, and you can always be certain that anything I can do in the kitchen, you can do too. This is not going to be a showcase of intimidating perfection; entropy is a scientific measure of disorder, and my kitchen is highly disordered, chaotic and messy. It usually tastes good though!

Sweet, sticky chilli jam

Ingredients

  • 8 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 15 small red chillies, roughly chopped (use fewer larger chillies for a milder taste)
  • 9 peeled and roughly chopped garlic cloves
  • Roughly thumb-sized chunk of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 750g golden caster sugar
  • 250ml red wine vinegar

Chop all the peppers and chillies into rough chunks, then chuck them into a food processor with the garlic and ginger. You can remove some or all of the chilli seeds if you wish to further lessen the fieriness.

Scrape out the finely chopped mushed-up mixture of garlic, chilli, pepper and ginger into a big heavy-based pan, add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to the boil.

Once it’s boiling, you need to skim off the scummy stuff that rises to the top, and then turn the heat down until the mixture is simmering. Simmer for around 50 min, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking.

Once the jam starts to become a bit sticky and glutinous, you’ll want to start stirring it continually to stop it catching and burning (this has totally happened in my house, more than once). Cook for a further 10 min while stirring, until it looks like thick bubbly jammy goodness.

Cool and store (for up to 3 months) in sterilised jars in a dark place. Once you’ve opened a jar, you should store in the fridge (because bacteria don’t tend to thrive in a cold environment).

Have milk and ice-cream on hand for chilli wusses.

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