You need

Equipment: food processor, heavy based stainless steel or enamel saucepan; gloves for handling the chillies

The ingredients

For 500ml (2 cups) of roughly chopped chillies you need

Optional: About 250ml red pepper, roasted and peeled (you may cheat and use some from a can or bottle)

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled

Optional: 5-7cm peeled ginger root, roughly chopped or grated

Optional: a few small whole chillies (especially if they are very hot)

500ml white wine or cider vinegar (or a mix, I use half cheap white wine vinegar and half cider)

500ml sugar (light brown or white)

For Jam: If you can get “jam sugar”, which contains pectin, use it. If you don’t have jam sugar, add powdered pectin:

3g pectin powder (from your pharmacy in South Africa!) for 500ml sugar

Commercial Powdered Pectin that I buy in the UK

For sauce: If you don’t use pectin it will not set as a jam, but remain syrupy, a delicious sweet chilli sauce!

To Prepare

Wearing gloves (optional, but advised!) Cut the chillies down the centre and scrape out the seeds, using a small vegetable knife and a teaspoon. Discard the seeds. I am not too phased if a few seeds remain.

Place the chillies, red pepper, garlic and ginger in a processor and pulse until the chillies and pepper are in small pieces, but not a pulp!

If you have a few small whole chillies, pierce

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan (as the mixture may boil over, ensure that the saucepan is only 50% filled) and heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Bring to the boil and allow to boil for about 25 minutes. At this stage the bubbles will become smaller and finer and the mixture will darken slightly.

Watch it now. Stir occasionally making sure it does not burn.

The chilli sauce will be ready in 25-30 minutes. It must be thick & syrupy.

If you are making jam, using a small bowl or saucer, place a teaspoonful of the hot jam on it. Pop it in the fridge to cool quickly. If it forms a soft syrupy gel it’s ready.

Remove the mixture from the heat and let it stand for a few minutes. This removes all the bubbles.

Using a clean metal spoon or jug pour it into sterilized bottles or jars.

Allow the jam to cool at room temperature to set properly. This is not a firm jam, it is a soft, syrupy gel.


Serve the jam with cheese.

Use the chilli sauce for Asian dishes and dips.