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). I also bought chilli jam from several vendors in Hoi An during a visit there and am confident this recipe is at least as good as they are.
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.