Fermented chilli sauce

I recently tried a second time to make fermented chilli sauce. 

First time I spent a tenner on chillis and ended up with a mouldy Kilmer jar of toxic mess.

This time it has cured. It’s been out of the fridge for over a week and it hasn’t so much as a spore on it. Oh and it tastes good too, if good means inedibly hot.

The secret was (I think) using sauerkraut as a starter.

So. I bought £6 of scotch bonnet chillis, probably about half a kilo. 

I’d made sauerkraut about two weeks beforehand (a red cabbage, shredded, salted and packed down in a sterilised jar, left with a lose lid and room temperature for three days, packed down every day, then sealed and left on the fridge, occasionally checking to avoid explosions).

To make the sauce I first blanched the chillis. I doubt this was necessary, but they’d been in a cash and carry in Brixton for yonks and had a couple of plumes of mould here and there. I stuck them in a colander and dipped them into boiling water for 30 secs then rinsed them in cold water to stop them cooking.

Once cool, the rest was easy. I whizzed the lot in a food processor with a teaspoon of sugar and one of salt and generous tablespoons of sauerkraut, then stuck it in a jar.

This is a bit more needy than other fermentations. I left it on the side for about 5 days, stirring once a day and covering the jar with a loose fitting lid. The fermentation was VERY vigorous: lots of bubbles, slight risk of explosion.

Once it calmed down, I put in the fridge, now it seems fine out.

The sauce is insanely hot, but you can still taste the pepper and the fermentation under the insanity. The red cabbage intensifies the colour as well as having the right microbes to get the party started.


rice bowl

IMG_2764.JPGRice bowls are the go to for easy eat in front of the TV food. Some bits of it can be time consuming, this one is easy.


I love Japanese rice. For some reason it’s hard to find reliable instructions on how to cook it in a simple rice cooker.

My easy to follow instructions:

  • use nishiki rice, the one that says you dont need to wash it (if you dont use nishiki rice you have to wash it 8 times in cold water, and it is a pain)
  • measure 300ml of rice for 2 people.
  • add 400ml of water
  • leave to soak for a minimum of 45 mins, but preferably for an hour
  • cook normally in the rice cooker, leave on warm for at least 10 mins
  • fluff with a fork


I always use Mori-nu. It’s not the best, but you can keep it in the cupboard forever. I always cook it before i use it, which is probably supersition.

Here, I simply took it out of the pack and steamed in a metal steamer for about 5 minutes. When it’s done, spoon it over the rice.


This recipe from (the very good food blog) beyond kimchi is my go to easy tofu sauce. Basically, mix up all of:

  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Korean soy sauce for soup (gook ganjang or chosun ganjang)
  • 2 -3 teaspoon Korean chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon water

And spoon it over the tofu.

NOTES: Korean chilli flakes are something specific, dont use other chilli powder, it will be too hot. Similarly soya sauce for soup is specific, although Tamari would work if you dont have goog ganjak. London peeps: there are loads of korean delis around, especially in the west end (e.g. new oxford street, by the museum) and obvs morden.


Every day normal mushrooms, sliced thickly, and cooked in the Elizabeth David method. Put oil in a large hot pan. stick the mushrooms in, make sure they are in a single layer with A LOT of space in between, at least a cm, they shouldn’t touch. Cook until they go brown and almost fluffy, then turn. This is how you make palatable fried mushrooms, rather than the nasty slimey greasy stuff you usually get.

To serve with this meal, I then take the pan off the heat, and put a generous slug of Mirin in the pan (i’d use xiaojoing wine or sake if i had no mirin, but the sweetness is nice).


This is a variation on my standard Kale With Too Much Garlic. This is Kale With Too Much Garlic and Katsup Manis.

Using crappy pre cut kale from Sainsbury’s, heat a wok, add a bit of olive oil, put the kale in the pan, stir, add about 5 cloves of crushed garlic (or just take much you’d normally put in, however much you think is ‘enough’, and double it, this is called Kale With Too Much Garlic for a reason)

If you want, it can be quite nice to stir in some black sesame seeds (looks nice, dont think i’d notice the taste)

When the kale is wilted and the garlic is starting to burn, take off the heat and stir in a few dashes of katsup manis (if you don’t have this, just mix soya sauce with sugar)