• Chilli jam (Petrina Tinslay)Source: Petrina Tinslay

This chilli jam makes an excellent base to tom yum soup, great in stir fries, blend it with coconut milk and cook chicken or seafood, add to salad dressings. Sally loves a spoonful on top of laksa to add an extra kick.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (10 votes)


  • 50 g tamarind pulp
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (approximately 18 cloves) garlic cloves, process in a processor until finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dried shrimp, pound in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 cup dried red chillies (remove seeds if you would like a milder jam)
  • 1 cup shaved palm sugar
  • ½ cup fish sauce

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes approximately 2½ cups

Standing time 10 minutes

Level of heat hot

Roughly chop the tamarind and place in a medium bowl, pour over the boiling water and allow to stand for 10 minutes or until the water has cooled enough for you to put your hands in. Knead the tamarind to remove the pulp from the seeds and fibres. Strain well, discard the seeds and fibre and set aside the pulp.

Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion in 2 batches, until golden brown, using a slotted spoon lift the onions from the oil and set aside.

In the same oil, fry the garlic until golden in colour and ensure it is translucent and cooked through. Strain from the oil and set aside with the onion.

Again in the same oil fry the shrimp for around 1 minute and strain, set aside with the other fried ingredients.

Finally in the oil fry the chillies for approximately 15 second or until they are a dark red colour, strain and add to the other fried ingredients. Be careful not to overcook the chillies or they will become bitter.

Place all of the fried ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process to form a paste.

Drain any remaining oil from the wok and reserve. Return the paste to the wok with the tamarind liquid, palm sugar and fish sauce. Ensure the palm sugar has dissolved and simmer for 1–2 minutes.

Place into sterilised jars and cover with a layer of the cooking oil, store for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.