We grew 2 amazing chili (chilli? chili- it depends on which continent you’re from it seems. I’m an Aussie- so I’m going to stick with chilli) plants this year from the amazing Real Seed Company . We buy almost all our seed from there, especially for our food plants, they’re a lovely a company, who grow heirloom seeds .. (lovely people who do lovely good work!)
These beautiful, unusual chillis are from the slopes of Bolivia’s Andes, so they are used to cool weather. They have pretty, delicate purple flowers which sit, star like, above slightly fuzzy leaves. They prefer a sheltered sunny spot, but one that doesn’t get too hot.. tricky!
The heavier fruit hide under the leaves ( presumably this protects them from the cold?) & they are quite fleshy. They finally ripen in late October, you have to seek out the red treasures under the protective leaves. The Locoto chillis are fairly to extremely hot.. I like spicy food… but I have over – errrr chillied myself with these on occasion.
The thing is, 2 plants have grown us FAR more chillis than we have been able to eat immediately. Which, I feel is rather a nice dilemma to have.
So- what have we done with this prodigious amount of spicy red fruit? Well- we have given some away to unsuspecting/chilli loving friends.
Then, the first lot I made a ‘Sriracha’ style sauce. Sriracha is also known as Rooster Sauce. It’s originally a Thai sauce, and is now famous – pretty much everywhere.
The recipe I tried, came from Serious Eats. Instead of the suggested Red Jalapenos, I used our plentiful Locotos. And can I say.. the sauce I have made is HOT.. but very very very addictive. Just like the original Sriracha.
That batch made 2 jars, which are.. strong.. and delicious.. and addictive! Recipe below..
Then, after we had used up half a kilo of our chillis – I thought I’d try something else, & semi-dried a batch of them.. slowly.. in the oven. Our oven is gas so a bit hard to control at low levels of heat, so I alternately had the oven on low for an hour, then turned it off for an hour- around 4 times. The result was chillis that are dehydrated but still squishy. I stuffed these all into a sterilised jar & covered them in olive oil. I haven’t yet tried the oil, but they do look beautiful on the counter top.
Locoto chilli sauce- ‘Sriracha’ style
- 1/2 kilo chillis
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 Tbs Light brown sugar
- 1 Tbs salt (I used Maldon salt)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- Remove the stalks from the chillis
- Blitz the chillis with the garlic cloves, salt & sugar until finely pureed. I used a mini food processor for this-
- Set aside the puree in jars & cover. This is the fermentation stage!
- You need to give the puree a stir every day- You want bubbles to start to form.
- On day 7, transfer the mix to a saucepan & add the vinegar & simmer for 5-10 minutes- Until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Other recipes ask you to re-blend the sauce & push through a sieve for a really smooth texture that is more like the commercial sauce, which of course you could do- but I was more than happy to have the sauce more ‘rustic’ and have more of a texture to it.
- Put the sauce into sterilised jars- and BE CAREFUL when you’re using it. It’s HOT!
We still have another huge crop of these amazing chillis coming up. Do you have any other nifty recipes? I think the 2 jars this made should be more than enough for us- even with us giving out mini-jars to our friends for Christmas.. Let me know in the comments below!