Beginners guide to making Chilli Sauce
If you’ve never made chilli sauce before, it’s surprisingly easy. However, the challenge is to give it a depth of flavour and not just a chilli burn. Check out the guide below and give it a try. Maybe you’d like to enter this year’s competition with your results 😉

To make a chilli sauce, you should ideally have each of the four components below.

There are a huge variety of chilli peppers  from all over the world, each with their own flavour notes and heat profiles. You can use dried or fresh. Scotch bonnets and habaneros are popular choices for their fruity heat, but you don’t need many of them! Take out the seeds if you want a less spicy kick.

Unless you’re wanting a nuclear-strength sauce that will make a grown man cry, you’re going to need to add body to your sauce. Onions and tomatoes are popular choices, but you could also use sweet peppers, or fruit such as mango or pineapple.

You can add a variety of herbs and spices to help give flavour. Garlic and ginger are good choices. Other options might be ground coriander, paprika, mustard, cloves or black pepper.

You will need some liquid to give your sauce a good consistency. Vinegar is a classic choice, and it helps preserve the sauce as well as giving it a nice tang. The vinegar will mellow somewhat during cooking, and will mellow further after your finished product has been bottled and stored for a while. But do add some sugar to balance the tartness. You could also add fruit juice, or just water.

You can throw everything into a pan, boil it and then blend it. That will work. But you will get a better depth of flavour if you fry your vegetables slowly first, and also fry the spices, before adding the chillies and liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if too thick.

1. You could try adding a splash of soy sauce to give an extra flavour kick.
2. Different types of chillies can release the “burn” at different times. Some hit you straight away, whereas others are slow builders. Combining several types of chilli can give a balanced release of heat, and a structure to your sauce instead of a “back-of-the-throat” burn
3. Try using alternatives to sugar if you’re adding sweetness. Honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or even treacle