Our 10 best chilli recipes (2024)

Chilli jam

A bold preserve that sits well with many dishes, from stir-fries and curries to mild, soft goat’s cheese. The secret is not to overcook it. It won’t set like a jam as there is no pectin, so use your judgment and keep tasting as it cooks and reduces.

Makes 5 x 200ml jars
125g garlic cloves, crushed
125g ginger, peeled and grated
60g medium-hot red chillies, stems removed
1.25kg tomatoes
825g sugar
30ml red wine vinegar
½ tbsp salt
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Blitz the chillies with the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a saucepan with the other ingredients and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

2 Cook for about an hour, stirring more frequently at the later stages, until the chilli jam has thickened and is a good colour.

3 Decant into five sterilised jam jars. Store in a cool dry spot and consume within six months.
Ian James, Nicholas Selby and Louisa Chapman-Andrews, Melrose and Morgan’s Good Food For Your Table (Saltyard)

Sichuan aubergines with ginger, garlic and chilli

Aubergine is a veg that can stand up to some spice; it’s particularly at ease with the Sichuan trio of ginger, garlic and a blast of chilli. Serve alongside a bowl of steaming brown basmati rice.

Our 10 best chilli recipes (1)

Serves 4
4 large aubergines (about 1.2kg)
A pinch of salt
100ml vegetable oil

For the sauce
2 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste
1 chile de árbol or 2 Sichuan chillies, crumbled
2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped

1 Cut the aubergines into rounds about 1-2cm thick, then cut the rounds in half. Sprinkle them with a little salt and leave to drain in a colander over the sink or on the draining board for at least half an hour, to draw out any excess water.

2 Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. When the aubergines are drained, toss them in the vegetable oil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the aubergines are completely soft and a tempting golden on the outside.

3 Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp water. Heat the oil in a large wok and when hot, add the chilli bean paste. As soon as it starts sizzling, add the chilli, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a minute or two, taking care not to burn the chilli and garlic or the sauce will taste bitter.

4 Pour in the stock and cornflour paste and cook for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken, then add the sherry, vinegar and sugar and simmer together for a few minutes to allow the flavours to meld.

5 Pour the sauce over the aubergines and scatter with the spring onions and coriander.
Thomasina Miers, Chilli Notes (Hodder and Stoughton)

Blistered cauliflower with chilli

Quick and easy does it with this appetiser – sauteed cauliflower makes an excellent backdrop for a shower of chilli.

Serves 4
1 medium cauliflower
3 tbsp gram flour
½ tsp sea salt flakes
¾ tsp chilli powder
Black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice from half a lemon

1 Cut the cauliflower into bitesize pieces. Tip the flour, salt and chilli into a food bag and drop in the cauliflower pieces. Give the contents a good shake, dusting all the florets.

2 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and saute the cauliflower pieces until lightly blistered – about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, anoint with fresh lemon juice and scatter with fresh pepper.
Ivor Peters, urbanrajah.com

Huevos rancheros

Occasionally this dish can just mean spicy sauce with eggs, but in this version the eggs and the chilli are well-matched sparring partners. As with most things involving both eggs and chilli, the addition of a little chorizo would be a good idea.

Serves 2
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and chopped (leave the seeds in if you like it very hot)
1 tsp tomato puree
½ tsp ground cumin
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
4 eggs
2 tortillas
2 tbsp sour cream

1 Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook until nicely soft, but not colouring, then turn the heat up a little and add the tomato puree and cumin.

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2 Let the mixture bubble for a minute. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes. If the sauce begins to dry out, add a little water.

3 When the sauce has reduced, make four holes in it and break the eggs into them. Let the eggs fry, occasionally basting the tops with the hot tomato sauce. Meanwhile, in another frying pan, warm the tortillas and place them on two warmed plates.

4 When the eggs are done, spoon two on to each tortilla and share the sauce between them. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on each egg.
Seb Emina, The Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury)

Fall-apart chipotle pork and pinto bean chilli

Pork and chilli is a classic pairing, as evidenced by this slow-cooked stew. Here, the richness of the meat is satisfyingly countered by the heat of chipotle – smoked, dried jalapeños.

Serves 6
1.2kg pork shoulder steaks, cut into 3cm pieces
Salt and black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chipotle puree
800ml tomato passata
60ml cider vinegar
45g soft brown sugar
2 x 400g tins pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed

To serve
1 red onion, chopped
2 avocados, sliced
A large handful of fresh coriander
A handful of Red Leicester cheese, grated

1 Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan with a lid, over a medium-high heat. Brown the pork, in batches, for 1–2 minutes each side or until browned all over. Remove and set aside. It will seem like a lot of meat but it shrinks considerably when it cooks.

2 Reduce the heat to low-medium, add the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil, onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5–6 minutes or until softened.

3 Add the spices and chipotle puree and cook for a few minutes. Add the passata, vinegar, sugar and pork. Add a good sprinkling of salt, cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Keep the heat low so the bottom doesn’t burn and remember to give it a stir every 15 minutes or so.

4 When the pork is fall-apart tender, add the drained beans and warm through. Serve in small bowls topped with the onion, avocado, coriander and cheese. If you want it to stretch to 8-10 people, serve it with basmati rice.
Jennifer Joyce, jenniferjoyce.co.uk

Chilli cheese toasties

You can’t go wrong with a toasted cheese sandwich, but you can make it even better with a few fiery specks of green chilli. The art to the perfect toastie is to melt the cheese without burning the bread. Paneer won’t melt like cheddar, but it makes an interesting alternative here.

Our 10 best chilli recipes (2)

Serves 4
8 slices medium-sliced white or brown bread
Soft butter
175g crumbled paneer or grated cheddar
2 or 3 green chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, diced (optional)
A handful of chopped coriander leaves
1 level tsp chaat masala (or to taste)
Salt and black pepper
Tomato ketchup (optional)

For the coriander chutney
2 large handfuls of coriander leaves
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin, dry-roasted
3 tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt

1 To make the chutney, blend the ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped. Add a splash of water and blend again until smooth.

2 Butter the bread slices on both sides. Spread 4 of the slices with coriander chutney to taste.

3 Combine the cheese, chillies, onion, tomato and coriander, and divide evenly between the bread slices that have been covered with chutney.

4 Season to taste with chaat masala, salt and pepper, top with the remaining pieces of buttered bread and grill under a medium-temperature grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown. Serve piping hot, with a squirt of ketchup on the side.
Carolyn Caldicott, Bombay Lunchbox (Frances Lincoln)

Caramelised pineapple with chilli salt

Serve with coconut ice-cream for a tropical dessert with a lively kick or reduce the sugar content of the chilli salt to make a side dish for a barbecue spread.

Our 10 best chilli recipes (3)

Serves 4
For the chilli salt
1 tbsp sea salt flakes
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Zest of 1 lime

For the pineapple
1 pineapple, peeled and sliced into rings
1 tbsp butter
20ml water or rum

1 To make the chilli salt, put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.

2 Put a heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet over a medium-to-high heat. Melt the butter until it’s sizzling and add the pineapple rings. Leave them to cook and caramelise, without moving them, for 2 minutes. Flip them over, pour in the water or rum to deglaze. Cook them for a further 2-3 minutes until the moisture evaporates.

3 Divide between plates and season with the chilli salt.
Rosie Birkett, alotonherplate.com

Celery, chilli and apple stew

This aromatic stew of fruit and veg marries sweetness and spice beautifully. To be enjoyed with plenty of crusty bread.

Serves 2
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large mild red chillies, finely sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 head of celery, roughly chopped
1 apple, diced
400ml tinned tomatoes
1 tsp black treacle (or brown sugar)
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
10 new potatoes
A generous knob of butter
A pinch of red chilli flakes

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1 Fry the shallots in the oil until lightly caramelised. Add the garlic, chilli and cinnamon stick. Cook for another 2 minutes.

2 Add the celery and apple and cook for another 5-7 minutes over a medium heat, stirring from time to time.

3 Add the tinned tomatoes, treacle (or sugar) and season well. Cook for 30 minutes and add the tarragon at the end.

4 Boil the potatoes. When serving, pop them on to the plate while hot, and position them in the centre of the stew.

5 Add a generous knob of butter to melt over the whole thing. Sprinkle some chilli flakes over the top to serve.
Olia Hercules, oliahercules.com

Breaded stuffed jalapeno chillies

Another cheese and chilli combo, these moreish bitesize parcels make an excellent pre-dinner platter.

Serves 4-6
20 jalapeño peppers
100g plain flour
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 eggs, lightly beaten
75g panko breadcrumbs
1 litre vegetable oil

For the stuffing
150g full-fat cream cheese
50g parmesan cheese, grated
50g sultanas, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

1 To make the stuffing, mix the cream cheese, parmesan and sultanas with some salt and plenty of pepper and set aside.

2 Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then add the jalepeño chillies and cook for 1 minute. Drain really well and allow to cool for a few minutes. Once cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to make a small slit down the length of each chilli from top to bottom – don’t cut all the way. Use the end of a spoon to flick out the seeds and membrane. Stuff each chilli pepper with 2 tsp of cream-cheese mix, then squeeze the sides of the chilli together to seal it around the filling – it should look uncut.

3 Mix the paprika into the flour. Put the flour, the egg and panko breadcrumbs on to three separate plates. Dip each chilli into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Once coated set aside.

4 Heat the oil in a medium pan until a piece of fried bread turns golden brown in 1 minute. Carefully lower 3-4 chillies at a time into the hot oil, cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while you fry the remaining chillies. Allow to cool for a minute before serving sprinkled with salt.
Rosie Reynolds, rosiereynolds.co.uk

Caribbean pepper sauce

A homemade jar of hot pepper sauce deserves a permanent home in your fridge. This lip-smacking recipe is cut through with sour lime, earthy coriander, garlic and ginger. If you so dare, double the number of scotch bonnets for something that will blow your socks off. Drizzle over grilled meats, roasted veg or morning eggs and use sparingly to enhance the flavour of stews and ragus.

Makes about 500ml
1 lime
12 medium-size scotch bonnets, stems removed, roughly chopped
A large handful of coriander leaves
1½ garlic bulbs, cloves peeled
150ml white wine vinegar
1½ heaped tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp American mustard
1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
½ unripe papaya, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

1 Put the lime in a small pan and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and cook the lime until soft and tender – about 10–15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2 Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients, except the salt and pepper, into a blender and blend until smooth.

3 Finely chop the lime (keeping the peel on) and stir into the other ingredients.

4 Decant the pepper sauce into a sterilised bottle, pop the lid on and leave to develop flavour for 2 days. Then season to taste with sea salt – it will take a lot of salt – and freshly ground pepper and give the bottle a good shake to distribute the seasoning.

5 Store in the fridge for up to 6 months (don’t worry about any discolouration over time).
Shivi Ramoutar, Caribbean Modern: Recipes from the Rum Islands, will be published in June (Headline)

Our 10 best chilli recipes (2024)
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