Kickstarter Chilli Paste

With its heady mix of chillies, garlic and ginger, this spicy brew will transform any stew, sauce or stir-fry. It can be made with fresh or frozen chillies, but some chillies are hotter than others, so taste a little first and adjust the quantities to suit.

Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 15 mins
Makes about 1 cup


  • 8 fresh or frozen long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons or limes
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Purée chillies, garlic, ginger and oil to a paste in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Heat a heavy-based frypan or pot over medium heat. Add chilli paste and lemon or lime zest and cook, stirring now and then, until it starts to smell aromatic (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add water and sugar and cook until it starts to stick and become pasty in texture and the oil has risen to the top (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir through soy sauce, salt and pepper. Allow to cool. If not using at once, store in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

View a video of Annabel making this recipe in her new TV series Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook: Through the Seasons at