Chilli jam, or tương ớt in Vietnamese, is a common condiment in Central Vietnam. I first tried it in Hoi An with some Cao Lầu. Without a supply of the original, I had to make some myself. It turned out to be a delicious and very versatile addition to a wide range of dishes.
While a spoonful of this wonderful condiment is a necessary part of a bowl of Cao Lầu or My Quang, its versatility goes way further. These mussel spring rolls were all the better for a spoonful of chilli jam, as were these falafel.
With something like chilli jam, every producer has their own special recipe. I tried a few variations and settled on this one as the best balance of flavour, heat, and sweetness (according to me). In addition, I bought chilli jam from several vendors in Hoi An during a visit there. I am confident this recipe is at least as good as those I tried there.
It is worth emphasizing the recipe comment about wearing plastic gloves when preparing the chillis. Always wear gloves when handling chillis. You really need to take this advice seriously!
Although I didn’t use the same recipe, this YouTube video from Helen’s Recipes provides a great visual guide.
- 150 g small hot red chillis
- 150 g large mild red chillis
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 litre boiling water
- 1 head garlic
- 5 shallots
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 150 g raw sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
- Make a slash along the side of the chilli peppers.
- 1/4 the red pepper and remove pith.
- Blanch chillis and red pepper in boiling water for 3 minutes.
- Remove the chillis and red pepper from the boiling water and add to ice water.
- Remove the stems and seeds from the chillis and red pepper and add the red flesh to a blender. USE GLOVES when handling the chillis.
- Add 1/2 cup water to the chillis in the blender and pulse blend until chunky.
- Crush the garlic and finely dice the shallots.
- Sauté the garlic and shallots in the oil until starting to brown.
- Add the blended chillis and red pepper to the pan.
- Add 150 g raw sugar and 1 tsp salt and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the jam reaches your desired thickness.
- Add the roasted sesame seeds and stir in.