The garden, which I pretty much abandoned back in August, is still producing peppers despite a long dry spell and zero maintenance. A small collection of assorted ripe red peppers inspired me to make a red chili paste for use in cooking. There were jalapeños, Padrons, Cubanelles, Marconis and a few Cayennes.
Commercially available red chili pastes, such as Sambal Oelek (ulek), contain ingredients like shrimp paste or fish sauce, neither of which I am interested in. They are also swimming with chili pepper seeds which not only provide an immediate heat experience but inflict a delayed secondary burn that is not nearly as pleasant. Enough said.
I removed the stems, any green parts which hadn’t fully ripened and many of the seeds. I wasn’t too meticulous because I planned on straining the paste later. I coated the peppers with mustard oil and roasted them under the broiler.
In the same baking tray I roasted garlic and roughly chopped onion under the broiler.
In a small food processor I ground the roasted chili peppers, garlic and onions along with ginger paste, powdered kefir lime leaves, kosher salt, grated situl jaggery and brown rice vinegar.
I forced the ground ingredients through a strainer to remove seeds and tough pepper skins etc. I transferred the strained chili paste back into the mini food processor and adjusted the flavors with salt, citric acid and powdered kefir lime leaves. Then I blended in a small amount of Xanthan gum for viscosity.
Since this chili paste is intended for occasional use I preserved it by canning in small jars. A small amount was leftover to put in the refrigerator for use in the near future.