Some like it hot.

Homemade Pickled Jalapeno Chillis
Homemade Jalapeno Chilli Poppers

So, if you are anywhere near the vicinity of capetown for the past few weeks, you would see our beautiful city live up to its names: Cape of Storms, Windy Cape or my own personal favorite Wot-a-skorcha. They all seem to be true for the past few weeks worth of weather.
For a few weeks leading up to Christmas, it was howling with a wind so strong I was worried my dogs would blow away.
Then after the wind settled down came a sort of half moggy, half rainy type weather. And then for the grand finale we had some days so hot, I have had to spend a few moments of quality time in the walk in fridge at work.

I have also spent a lot of time dreaming about swimming in icecream and downing plentiful frozen margheritas.
On one such occasion (downing margheritas, not swimming in icecream unfortunately) I was at a Mexican restaurant in Town with a friend, and feeling peckish we ordered their plate of chilli poppers.
Made popular throughout the area by Panchos and various other Mexican restaurants, they vary in the type of batter used, but are generally pickled jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheese and deep fried in either pastry or batter.
Now I won’t call myself a connoisseur, but I have tried most versions of these spicy little mouthburners, and the simplest and best tasting ones are the ones wrapped in a very thin pastry, as they tend to be crispier and less greasy.

I have already ventured into the world of pickling, and when I found that PnP was packaging Jalapenos, I jumped and bought 2 small packets. Don’t ask me why but my favourite hang out these days seems to be the fresh veg section, maybe because of the fridges… The Jalapenos used in restaurants where probably bought in bulk already pickled, and had a definite acrid taste from too little sugar, or the use of cheap vinegar.

I was hoping to create a less sour more tangy pickle and set about swiftly creating this new masterpiece.
The recipe I followed was fairly simple, and in a matter of minutes I had a large jar of plump jalapenos swimming happily in a light amber coloured liquid.

I then forgot about them.
That is what tends to happen in my house.
Something new comes along, an exciting recipe gets tested out. The kitchen looks like a bombs hit it. Either it works out, or it doesn’t. And then its over.

My Friend popped round this weekend, and as we were chatting he sat up straight, looked me in the eye and declared, “oh, I am so craving a chilli popper right now!”
I, in that moment of slight disbelief and surprise sat up and said, “well I’ve got this jar of pickled Jalapenos…”

So if you happen to have this jar of pickled jalapenos lying around,
Then do give this a go, They taste absolutely fantastic, and freeze really well too. Once they have been stuffed and rolled, tightly pack them into a plastic container, and freeze as is. To cook just pop them from frozen into some hot oil, and you have

Homemade chilli poppers
To pickle the peppers:
14 Jalapeno chillis
550ml white vinegar
80g white sugar
10 peppercorns
5 coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf

Slice the peppers from top to tip, making sure you don’t cut all the way through. You want to be able to stuff cheese in, and make sure it doesn’t fall out the other side.
Bring all other ingredients to the boil.
Boil or heat your preserving jar in the oven until piping hot.
I used a large jar which used to contain gherkins.
Once boiling, add the chillis to the vinegar, stir for a few seconds and pour into the jar sealing tightly.

Leave to cool, and then store for 2 weeks before using (or in my case 1 week, they tasted great, just slightly more HOT).

14 Tbsp cream cheese (1Tbsp per pepper).
7 large squares of spring roll pastry

Remove the seeds from the insides of the chillis making sure not to split them in half.
Stuff with cream cheese.
Cut the spring roll pastry in half, so you get 2 rectangles from one sheet.
Place the pastry in front of you, with the short side closest to you, so that you can roll upwards.
Place the stuffed chilli horizontally on the pastry.
Roll the chilli over with the pastry so it is covered by one layer.
Fold the bottom of the pastry over the tip of the chilli, to make it tight to prevent leaking or splitting.
Roll the chilli up so that it looks like a cigar. I sealed it with a small amount of cream cheese so that it holds its shape during frying.

Deep fry in hot oil for a few seconds, until crispy. Serve with some sassy Peppadew mayo, or for the brave, some chilli sauce.

Peppadew mayo 
4T plain yoghurt
4T mayonnaise
8 peppadews

Blend together until smooth.
Serve with the chilli poppers.

Serve this up with a crisp cold bottle of wine, and you have a winner.

Right, I’m going to go climb into the freezer now...


  1. Love these... Sometimes I do a layer of sausage around the pepper and grill em. Never have used a pastry dough... but why not.