Thursday, April 10, 2008

Red Hot Chili Peppers= They're Red Hot

If I were a male, and I've often threatened to come back as one in my next life (the labour ward was one occasion that comes to mind), my prostate would be in perfect health. Why? Because I eat chillies. These little bullets contain capsaicin, which is known to have the ability to make prostate cancer cells commit suicide upon themselves. Chillies also have an anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis, migraines and muscle pain. And quite understandably, they are known as an appetite suppressant - probably because your tastebuds are anaesthetised for a prolonged period of time.

All of the sweating, burning, tears and sniffing may be unbearable for some people, but if you start adding small amounts of chillies to your diet, they become addictive, and you want more and more, or at least I do anyway. I'm sure my body has built up a toleration level, only for that level to be broken next time I try something hotter.

Bring on the heat I say. And with winter starting to creep into my bones, I made sure that I preserved what was left of my chilli plant in the garden, before the frosts come along and take them away from me.

Sambal Oelek, a red chilli paste, is what I made from my "crop". A little goes a long way, so my jar and a half should last me through the winter. My prostate endowed husband can't tolerate hot and spicy food, at least to the extent of gaining any major health benefits from it, so I might just try slipping it into his beer, all for the sake of prostate health of course. Wish me luck!!

Sambal Oelek


  • 1 lb red chillies
  • 5 1/2 ounces garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 5 1/2 ounces tender young ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced (white part only)
  • 6 fluid ounces vinegar
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, chopped


1. Blend the chillies, garlic, ginger and lemon grass in a food processor or mortar and pestle.

2. While processing gradually add the vinegar.

3. Place the pureed mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

5. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.

6. Add the salt and lime zest.

7. Remove from the heat, cool and bottle in sterilised jars, or if you want to freeze, place in freezer containers or ice cube trays

Used extensively in Thai, Indonesion and Malaysian foods, serve this as a condiment for those who can handle the heat, or use in stir fries and other dishes for flavour and yet again that addictive "heat".

Jai and Bee from Jugalbandi are the hosts of Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging # 128. They are famous bloggers who have their own successful photo event "Click", so if you're a budding photographer, check out their website and fire up your flashes.


Peter M said...

Pam, I am most impressed with your homemade Sambal looks just like the stuff from the market!

bee said...

awesome recipe. i'm sure this tastes way fresher than the storebought sauce. we will be trying this soon.

Pam said...

Hi Peter, thanks, and yes it tastes just as good as store bought. The best part is you can add seasonings to your liking.

Thanks Bee, yes I can guarantee the freshness..straight from the garden to jar!

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Kalyn said...

It does look good, although I have to admit I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to hotness. Maybe I just haven't built up my heat tolerance enough yet?

dp said...

I'm bookmarking this page. I'll be making it very soon! Thanks for sharing.

Pam said...

Kalyn, even I, who loves hot and spicy, only use small amounts of this, sometimes even a quarter teaspoon leaves you reaching for something cool. Great for adding to a marinade for chicken of oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, lime juice.

dp, glad you might try this, and I hope you enjoy it. It's very simple to prepare.