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Green Chilli Relish

Original recipe

Here is an updated recipe for a relish that tastes more creamy and is not as hot. You can easily increase the heat by leaving a few membranes and seeds from some very hot chillies, or even extracting the juice from some hot chillies (seeds and all) with a carrot juicer and using it as concentrated heat.

Basic Ingredients

50 LARGE green chillies - seeds and membranes laboriously removed with food prep gloves. If the chillies have little or no heat use some small green Thai chillies, but also remove seeds and membranes.
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
4 10cm stalks of lemon grass
4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons desiccated coconut
half a teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Optional Extras

half a large kaffir lime leaf midvein removed and sliced fine
1 sprig oregano, stalk removed
1 small sprig rosemary, stalk removed
1 large sprig Italian parsley (about 15 leaves)
zest of half a lime
half a cup of Kara UHT coconut milk, you can get it from the Viet Grocer, Vulture St, West End


Slice garlic finely and leave to air. Chop all other ingredients so as to blend more easily, especially lemongrass which you should chop or slice very fine, e.g. Blend all ingredients very fine, reserving:

half the lemon juice
half the salt
half the coconut milk
the extra chillies

Add these reserved ingredients to your taste, for extra green, heat, acidity, salt or creaminess.

Original recipe

20 to 30 green chillies
1 onion
3 to 4 cloves garlic
2 to 3 10cm stalks of lemon grass
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 third to half lemon
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut


The chillies should be large and fleshy, but still with substantial heat, and very fresh. The more chillies in the recipe, the greener the result. It should be quite a bright green, not too whitish.

All you really have to do is blend all the ingredients. But there are a few good tips that make this easier.

Top all the chillies as high up as possible and split lengthways. Toss in a sink or large bowl to knock out the loose seeds. Wash lightly, removing some, but leaving most of the dense mass of seeds near the top of the chillie (the blunt end). The more of this membrane and seed mass you remove, the less hot it will be, as this is where the capsaicin is concentrated. Do this with surgical style gloves, using your thumbnail under running water.

The water that clings to the chillies after this operation is not a problem. In fact it helps the blending.

Because everything has to be blended very fine, it is necessary to chop all the ingredients coarsely so the blender doesn't seize, in particular the lemon grass which is very fibrous.

Reserve some preparted chillies, salt, and lemon juice for adding later to adjust the taste if required.

Blend everything except the desiccated coconut until it is very fine. It should be quite runny. If it gets too stiff, add more chillies, lemon juice and olive oil. You can use lime juice instead, it will give you more liquid for the same amount of acid and make the taste tend more towards a Thai style. I sometimes add a half a teaspoon of palm sugar if I am going in this direction.

Taste for heat and salt, remembering that the desiccated coconut will reduce the heat. If it tastes agressively hot, this is good.

Now add the coconut. This will stiffen the mixture and reduce the heat. The coconut will continue to absorb moisture and the mixture, after chilling in the fridge, should be just right for dipping rice crackers, wheat crackers or corn chips. The life is about two weeks, but if it lasts this long, you're just not trying.

I generally find I put more lemon grass in than the recipe calls for and if I want a large quantity I will simply use more chillies, but remove more seeds and membranes. The result has a nice fresh capsicum flavour. Of course the garlic, onion, lemon grass, lemon juice and salt also have to be adjusted, but you can increase chillies more than the other ingredients.

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