This is a modified version of Masterchef Julie Goodwin’s recipe, so you know it’s going to be good. In my version I have turned down the heat, tweaked the sweetness and upped the quantities. I am regularly asked to make this for Christmas gifts, so it is guaranteed to sell well at a school fete or as something extra at your next cake stall. I won’t pretend it isn’t time consuming, but it can bubble away merrily in the background while you are doing other things.
Cost and profit
The overall cost of this recipe depends primarily on the price of red capsicum, which can get as high as $15/kilo. I wouldn’t recommend making this recipe unless you can purchase capsicum for less than $10/kilo. Buy in bulk from farmers markets or ask your school to plant red capsicum in the school garden. All other ingredients are very cheap (especially if you cheat and use jar garlic and ginger).
Prices are estimates only, please check with your local supplier.
Total cost of ingredients (assuming capsicum $10/kg) = approx. $40.
This quantity makes about eight to ten cups. These Ikea spice jars are perfect for this recipe.
Total cost: approx. $42.50 or $4.25 per jar.
Sell for up to $7-8 per jar. Profit average $3.50 per jar.
Eight large red capsicums (approx. 2.5 kg), cut into large flat pieces, seeds and white membrane removed
6 long red chillies, chopped roughly (remove or retain seeds depending on how hot you want the jam to be)
6 heaped tablespoons of garlic (fresh or jar)
2 large pieces of fresh ginger (10 cm each), peeled and diced (or one jar of minced ginger)
3 red onions, diced
500g brown sugar
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar (or any type of vinegar)
½ cup fish sauce
Line an oven tray with aluminium foil and lay the capsicum slices skin-side up in a single layer. You will need to do multiple batches. Put the capsicum under a hot grill until the skin is very black and blistered. The blacker the better, as the skin will come off more easily. Once it is out of the grill, place in a plastic bag or wrap in a tea towel for ten minutes to cool and steam.
Slip off the skin and chop into rough pieces.
Place the chillies (with or without seeds, I usually include the seeds of at least four of the chillies), garlic, ginger and capsicum into a food processor with about two tablespoons of water and process until everything is finely chopped, or keep going to make it completely smooth.
Pour everything into a large saucepan, add the sugar and vinegar and stir to combine. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a low heat for at least an hour, possibly two. You will need to stir it every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure it does not stick.
After an hour it will have reduced down. Pour in the fish sauce and simmer for another 30-60 minutes. As it thickens you will need to keep an eye on it, and stir regularly so that it does not stick.
The jam is ready when it is sufficiently thick that when you stir it, you can see the bottom of the saucepan momentarily.
Pour into sterilised jars and be prepared to make another batch in a few weeks when your first batch sells out quickly.