Picking up from where we left off yesterday >You can catch up here< I am sharing my adventures in making the most of the peppers and chillies I have grown this season. No longer are they all just allowed to turn red and lobbed into the sweet chilli sauce. This time I have found out what make each one special and used them to that advantage. Along the way I have discovered some newfound kitchen favourites and I have to say the next up – the Jwala pepper will forever have a place in my garden.
Now this one was fun. I was given the seeds by the good people at Yates to try as it was new to them. I was more intentional about using these in the appropriate way to appreciate they were given to me. It would have been pointless to give me something special and then all I did was mix it up with everything else in a sweet chilli sauce. Being of Indian origin and were supposed to be used green, I decided to go off on search of an authentic recipe that made them the star. I stumbled across a lovely Indian lady on the internet making a green chilli sauce. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in English, but with the blessing of subtitles and the ability to follow along, pausing the video as I cooked, I ended up with the most amazing green chilli sauce. Oh, my goodness it is fabulous. Full of spicy, heat and the freshness of a green chilli. I will miss it when it runs out. We have been cooking more curries and making poppadums just to have a reason to use it.
This was one of those random selections where it looked interesting and there was one more spot in the garden that could be filled with something interesting. It had a cute little shape and a cute little name, and it promised not to be hot – well most of the time – it suggested there was a Russian Roulette thing going one where there would occasionally be a hot one. But I haven’t found one yet and they are so sweet and delish I’ve just been eating them raw in the garden. They almost taste like apples, which is kind of weird. I’ll definitely grow these again.
This year I got impatient and harvested these too early. But they were taking forever to turn to that lovely rich chocolately brown colour. They are great in Mexican cooking as part of Mole Sauce. Apparently they should be dried whole, but I have been drying them in pieces and grinding them into a powder and using them as a spice when I make anything remotely Mexican. I really should have a go at making a proper Mole. Maybe next season.
These were a bit of a miss this year as I missed that window when they are small and a delight to eat tapas style, fried in olive oil with a sprinkling of salt as you anxiously watch your friends, hoping yours isn’t the random hot one. Experience has taught me, once you miss that window, they are all the hot one. So, I leave them to go red and into the sweet chilli sauce they go.
These are a great little pepper with a nice thick wall and great flavour and colour. There is only one thing to do with these and that is to dry them and grind them and use them as paprika spice. I need to grow more of these because there is never enough to be a year’s supply of paprika for my cooking needs.
Finally, we have these funny wee things. I first bought them mistakenly thinking they had something to do with salami – goodness knows what I thought I’d do with them. But each year they ended up bright red and in the sweet chilli sauce. But this year being intentional I decided to treat them with respect. The first clue was in their proper name Greek Golden Pepperoni. Which alludes to the fact they need to be picked while young and golden in colour. And the second clue is they are Greek, so I went off in search of an authentic Greek recipe and found they were pickled whole in a salty / vinegary brine. And they are really nice.
Aside from my sweet chilli sauce that is made up of everything, my other go to, must have is my smoked and dried chilli powder. A bundle of mixed peppers and chillies are smoked over coals and wet apple chips in my BBQ. Then I dehydrate them to a crisp and blitz them into a fine powder. I end up with more than enough to last the year and it gets sprinkled into absolutely everything. I’m certain it will be the fragrance that instantly transports my kids back to their childhoods when they are grown up and off in far flung places.
It felt great to treat each of these peppers and chillies in a manner that respected the flavour and tradition behind each one. It did take a lot of effort but now that I know what I have been missing out on, I will certainly put aside time in my late summer and autumn knowing there is a lot of kitchen gardening to be done to create so many wonderful things.
Come again soon – things maybe quiet in the garden, but there is plenty to potter about with.
Sarah the Gardener : o)