Chilli Jam

chilli jam

Chilli Jam

makes about 8 cups

There’s a cafe in Canberra called Silo Bakery which has one of the best breakfast dishes ever. It’s poached eggs served on their sourdough bread with chilli jam and slow roasted tomatoes.

I love the chilli jam so much I just had to create my own version. The secret ingredient is the fish sauce which gives it lovely savoury complexity without being overtly ‘asian’.

12 red onions, peeled & quartered
8 red capsicum (peppers)
1 cup fish sauce or balsamic vinegar
150g (5oz) hot small red chillies, about 50
750g (1.5lb) brown sugar

1. Whizz onions in batches in a food processor to a paste. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a very large pot and cook onions, covered over a medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, deseed and chop capsicum (peppers) and puree in the food processor with the unseeded chillies in batches.

3. Add the pepper puree to the onion mixture along with the fish sauce or vinegar and sugar.

4. Simmer uncovered for about 3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so until thickened.

5. About 1/2 hour before it’s cooked. Remove a small portion and allow to cool. Taste and season, adding more chilli if it’s too mild. If you’ve using balsamic you’ll need lots of salt.

6. Divide hot jam between clean jars fresh from the dishwasher and seal with lids immediately.

Shelf Life

If using jars from the dishwasher it will last for 12 months or longer unopened in the pantry. Refrigerate when opened.


vegetarian – use the balsamic vinegar option instead of the fish sauce. Remember to be generous with the salt.

onion jam – replace the chilli and peppers with more red onions.

Problem Solving Guide

too sweet – add a little more fish sauce or salt.

bland – add more chilli and simmer for an extra 15 minutes.

too watery – keep cooking until thickend to your liking.

burning on the bottom – a little charring will be good but too much will give a bitter taste. Remember to stir regularly and reduce the heat if too much.

Packaging Suggestions

Needs a sterisiled (dishwasher clean) jars with a good airtight seal. Best to fill and seal the jars when hot to make sure there are no bugs.

Ingredients List

onion, sugar, red capsicum (peppers), fish sauce (or balsamic vinegar), chilli.

Serving Suggestions

with eggs – poach 2 eggs and serve on toast with chilli jam and slow roasted tomato halves.

roast eggplant – halve a large eggplant lengthwise. Drizzle cut sides with oil and bake 200C (400F) for 45mins – 1hr or until tender. Serve with chilli jam and a salad of fresh mint and coriander (cilantro) leaves dressed in lemon juice and olive oil.

bangers & mash – serve chilli jam with pan fried sausages and mashed potato.

fish or chicken
– pan fry or BBQ white fish fillets or chicken thigh fillets and serve with chilli jam on the side and a crisp green salad.

thai beef salad – BBQ or pan fry 2 steaks until rare. Rest then finely slice. Make a dressing of 2 tablespoons each lime juice and fish sauce. Toss sliced beef and 2 large handfuls salad leaves in the dressing. Serve topped with a dollup of chilli jam. Serves 2


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