It’s not often that you can find a source of habañero chillies in Australia, and when you find them you clear your diary and make your own jerk seasoning.
I found these red and yellow habañeros in the big fruit and vegetable market near Woolworth’s at Highpoint. At $29.99 a kilo they’re not cheap, but a handful of each goes a long way.
Caribbean food is a staple in our house, and although a recent Barbados trip means we are not low on supplies, I’ve been slowly perfecting my own recipe for a number of years now.
This time I had some Australian spices to hand, to bring a little local flavour to this complex seasoning. I brought the whole all-spice back from Barbados too, but you can get ground all-spice in many Australian supermarkets.
I also had a few regular old red chillies that needed to be used up, so I threw them in too, and instead of buying a lime I used a lemon from a stash a work colleague brought in from her garden tree. Free lemons are always great!
You can see how big those red habañeros are in relation to the other two:
I de-stalked the chillies but didn’t remove the seeds. Hope I don’t regret it later!
I used native pepper berries, pepper berry leaves and ground lemon myrtle for the Australian note.
Everything got thrown into the trusty food processor (in about three batches as I had so much), and I used a little white wine vinegar and the odd drop of water to lubricate things enough for the blending to get going.
A little perseverance and a few minutes later, hey presto, Australian jerk seasoning! I blended the mix until it was quite smooth, as I find the flavours are released better that way.
This will keep in a sterilised jar in the fridge for quite a few weeks, as the vinegar helps preserve it.
I’ve got some chicken portions marinating already, so I’ll post some pics of the end result and report on the heat/flavour factor.