Fresh Red Chile Chutney


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes A Scant

    1 Cup

Appears in

In the large bowl, Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce; in the jar, Fresh Red Chile Chutney.

Clockwise from lower left: Intensely Green Spinach and Tomato Salad with Peanuts; Punchy-Crunchy Ginger Salad; Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce; Succulent Grapefruit Salad; and Fresh Red Chile Chutney (page 203).

The steamed version of Kachin Chicken Curry is presented here with Fried Rice with Shallots and Fresh Red Chile Chutney. Notice that the chicken is in larger pieces here than those called for. My notes from Myitkyina include a comment about this slow-cooked dish from the Kachin repertoire: “Delish, sucking flavor off the bone.”

Fried Rice with Shallots, made with green peas. It’s accompanied by a jar of Fresh Red Chile Chutney (page 203), a small bowl of cooked chickpeas (see Peas for Many Occasions), and, in front, a bowl of Fried Shallots.

This condiment, a milder fresh-chile cousin of Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce, was served with the street-side rice crepes in Myitkyina. The combo makes a wonderful late-afternoon snack. In Myitkyina the sauce is a bright red, but if you cannot find red cayennes or a red bell pepper, use green ones, and increase the sugar slightly. Notice that the garlic goes into the pot later, after the chiles, so it still has a little bite to it.

There’s some sweetness from a little sugar and a touch of tartness from vinegar. You can vary the sauce in any way that suits you.

This makes a great pairing with roast pork or grilled beef.

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  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • Scant teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 red cayenne chiles, seeded and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, or substitute apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Place a small heavy pot over medium heat and add the oil. When it is hot, toss in the turmeric and stir, then add the chiles, bell pepper, and salt and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, then add the water. Once the water bubbles to a boil, cover and cook for 7 or 8 minutes, or until the chiles are softening well.

Add the garlic, vinegar, and sugar, stir well, and cook for about a minute, uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and let cool before serving.

Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.