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​Top Five Uses for Chillies

Top Five Uses for Chillies

One of the reasons we're enamoured with world street food is for its many uses of fresh chillies to make everyday cooking an exciting flavour experience. Salsa, chutney, relish and sauces enhance simple vegetables using chillies and spices along with other ingredients like tamarind, lime and palm sugar. Chillies come into their prime in September, making this month one of my favourites for the kitchen garden. Sweetcorn, tomatoes, tomatillos and summer squash are also ripe and these beautiful ingredients are ideal for fresh chilli dishes. So in the spirit of chilli season and the late summer harvest, I'd like to share my top favourite uses for chillies.

1. Tamales

Tamales are sweetcorn husks filled with masa (Mexican cornmeal dough), topped with various fillings, then wrapped and steamed. To eat, the husk is peeled back and the contents enjoyed with hot chilli salsa. Two of our favourite fillings are sweet potato and butternut squash, served with Chipotle en Adobo.

Sweet Potato Tamale

2. Mexican Salsa

Mexican salsas are traditionally made in a pestle and mortar, and they can be raw or cooked. Salsa Cruda is made with diced or pounded tomatoes or tomatillos and chillies. Salsa Asada is made with roasted tomatoes, chillies and garlic, the flavours balanced with lime juice, salt and sugar. You can also use Salsa Asada to flavour your Mexican Rice, a great side dish.


3. Masala Dosa

In Southern India, masala dosas are served in hot, crowded cafés and washed down with sweet milky tea or salty lassi. The dosas are skillfully prepared on large, flat hot plates, and they have the knack of making them so thin, crisp and huge, deftly wrapping them around a spiced potato filling. Both the fillings and chutneys are made with chillies.


4. Chutney

Fresh Indian chutneys are easy to make. Try a brilliant green chutney made with copious amounts of chopped coriander and mint, green chillies, cumin and lemon. For a sweet and sour variety, try tamarind chutney made with tamarind pulp, cooked dates, ginger and cayenne.

Dal dumplings

5. Gado Gado with Satay Tempeh

Gado Gado is a classic Indonesian dish which literally means “Mix Mix”. It features green beans and other vegetables, hard boiled eggs and a spicy peanut sauce made with crushed peanuts, fresh root ginger and hot chillies.


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