My boyfriend recently planted some chilli bushes in his garden, and all of a sudden they’ve started to yield lovely green fruit. They’re hella spicy, and very fragrant, but there are only so many meals a day in which to use them. To avoid wastage, and make the most of the marvellous little beasts, the answer was obvious – mazavaroo.
We gathered up the big fruits from his bushes, and then appropriated some red bird’s eye numbers from a friendly neighbour. After first roughly chopping them, we threw them into a bowl with a dash of red wine vinegar, about three cloves’ worth of crushed garlic, a sprinkling of salt and enough olive oil to lubricate the whole lot. I’ve seen that some recipes call for sugar at this point, but I didn’t think the chillies were bitter enough to warrant it. A pestle and mortar would now usually be used to smash the whole lot into oblivion, but we made do with a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. The salt helps here to abrade the mix and help to mush it up, so Maldon or coarse salt would be even better than your garden variety Cerebos. This all aside, once we’d applied some force to the whole procedure, we ended up with a great, if somewhat rustic mazavaroo. After sterilising a bottle in boiling water, we simply packed the mixture in, topped up with more oil to cover the whole lot, and were done.
We couldn’t wait, so slathered the maz onto fresh bread and cheese for a taster. It was incredibly fiery, with just the right kind of kick, and an intense grassiness that only really comes from fresh chillies. This would be ideal in pastas, on sandwiches, or anywhere else you’d want a robust chilli flavour, but start off by using drizzles of the oil until you’re sure of your tolerance. It should keep in the fridge for a fair while, but if you’re in a household of chilliphiles, that will be the least of your worries. Enjoy!
For more food musings and the like – check out my blog Still Life with Wooden Spoon at www.woodenspoon.co.za