What’s cooking today: Red chilli chutney

What’s cooking today: Red chilli chutney
Tony Jackman’s red chilli chutney. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

‘Hot sauce’ varies greatly and I’m no fan of the ‘sweet chilli sauce’ alternative. I prefer a starkly savoury chilli sauce, and while there is a little sweetness in this, it is more chutney-sweet than the intense sugar hit of most sweet chilli sauces.

A big brown bag of bishop’s hat chillies came my way the other day. They grow profusely in parts of the Eastern Cape and occasionally, at this time of year, you spot surprisingly large bushes of them in backyards, with scores of dainty red peppers hanging from them like miniature red Chinese lanterns.

I had to do something with them, and a chilli sauce can last a long time and be put to many uses, so they quickly became a couple of jars of chilli chutney.

I included red bell peppers to add bulk and soften the impact of the chillies.

(Makes 2 to 3 standard jars)


3 medium red onions, chopped

8 garlic cloves, chopped

3 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp Banhoek (or similar) chilli oil

5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

500 g red chillies, very ripe

4 large red bell peppers

1 cup red wine vinegar

Salt to taste

5 Tbsp sugar


Chop the onions and garlic, core and deseed the peppers and chillies, and chop them too.

Simmer the chopped red onions and the garlic in coconut oil and chilli oil on a low heat until softened.

Add the ginger, chillies, peppers and vinegar, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low heat to simmer. Season with salt to taste.

Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the mixture is fairly thick and more syrupy than runny.

Blend by pulsing a few times but it’s best not to overblend it as, being a chutney, it needs some texture. Botte in sterilised jars, right to the brim. Give any spare jars to a friend. DM/TGIFood

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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  • Christian Mottes says:

    I make a similar chili sauce / chutney with a Senegalese recipe that includes fresh black pepper (i.e. still green on the vine). Despite lots of oil, boiling and sanitising the jars, it gets mouldy very easily. However there is no vinegar in my recipe. I wonder whether the vinegar helps keep it disinfected?

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