Thai-style sweet chili sauce is a pleasing accompaniment to fried foods such as stuffed chicken wings and spring rolls. The combination of heat and sweetness along with the sharp twang of vinegar in the background really sparks the taste buds. I wanted to come up with a jelly that would make someone think of Southeast Asia when tasting it. I didn't want something that was merely incendiary hot; I wanted something more nuanced.
The method and ingredients for making pepper jelly differ little from those for making a Thai-style sweet chili sauce. The basic ingredients are chilies, vinegar, and sugar. Puree, boil, and steep. For the jelly I strained the solids and added pectin to make the liquid jell.
The jelly can be served on a cracker with cream cheese or brie. It could also be used as a glaze to grilled pork or chicken. Heated, it liquefies and could be used as a dip for stuffed chicken wings, or crab rangoons that Wandering Chopsticks posted about recently.
Lemongrass-Kaffir Lime Leaf-Pepper Jelly
2 or 3 stalks of lemongrass, pale whitish part only, bruised and sliced
6 to 8 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
1/2 cup red jalapenos, or other chilies of your choice (I chose jalapenos because they provide a nice amount of heat but aren't overwhelming), chopped
3/4 cup vinegar
3 cups white sugar
1 3 ounce package of liquid pectin
Mix lemongrass slices, lime leaves, chilies, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Heat and stir. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree cooled mixture. Let sit for half an hour or so. Strain solids out using a sieve. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in liquid pectin. Pour warm liquid into warm sterilized jars. Process in boiling water for five minutes. Makes 3 half-pint jars.
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