As February is spice month, there was no way we could omit Chinese New Year from our blog ramblings this week, especially as it official starts today (12th Feb).

It’s our bread and butter after all, or should that be our spring rolls and wontons?

After Christmas, Chinese New Year represents SK’s busiest periods of the year and chances are that if you are eating Chinese food bought from one of the main UK supermarkets this week, it started life in our development kitchen.

But enough about us.

This year is the Year of the Ox, which last came around 12 years ago, given there are 12 animal signs of the zodiac. However, there is also a cycle of five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal and water—which together creates a 60 year cycle. So in 2021 it’s the “Year of the Metal Ox,” which hasn’t happened for 60 years. ]

So it’s a big year and such a shame that people won’t be able to celebrate it in the usual way with big family get togethers, large outdoor events etc. Yes Covid-19, we’re talking about you, again!

However it may be a stay at home Chinese New Year in 2021 but that won’t get in the way of one of the best things about this celebration, food.

Not that people need an excuse to eat Chinese food. It still remains one of the most popular cuisines in the world and also one of the easiest to do yourself at home – which is particularly apt at the moment.

There’s a reason the internet almost broke when Wagamama’s revealed its recipe for Chicken Katsu Curry during the first lockdown. Who would have thought it would been so simple and yet absolutely delicious?

As it would have been too easy to provide a Chinese recipe this week, we’re giving you something different. National Chilli Day is also approaching, so we have taken inspiration from this instead.

Four Cheese and bacon stuffed crispy red chillies with jalapeno Jam

Four cheese and bacon crispy red chillies:

  • 10 red chillies
  • 100g diced bacon (fried till crispy and retain the oil)
  • 140g soft cheese
  • 75g extra mature cheddar
  • 45g red Leicester
  • 2.5g salt
  • 5g minced garlic
  • 75g grated mozzarella

In a kitchen mixer combine all the ingredients together till well combined. Then using a sharp knife slice the chillies from the bottom up to the stalk but don’t go all the way through. Gently scrape out the seeds. This should leave you with 2 halves of chillies still connected by the stalk. Fill each side of the chilli with cheese mix then press together. Leave in the refrigerator to chill and the cheese to firm up.

Jalapeno jam:

  • Retained bacon oil
  • 200g diced white onion
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 160g white wine vinegar
  • 200g diced jalapenos
  • 150g liquid glucose
  • 5g salt

Fry the onions in the bacon oil with the jalapenos, then add the sugar, glucose, white wine vinegar and salt. Cook until thick and glossy and a jam like consistency.

Crispy coating:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g panko breadcrumbs

Preheat deep fat fryer to 180oc

When the chillies have chilled, take out of the fridge and individually hold the stalk of the chilli first dip in the flour making sure not to get any on stalk, then into the egg and finally the bread crumbs repeat this process with all the chillies. This should leave you with a bread crumbed chilli but with a visible stalk.

Place in the deep fat fryer and fry for 3-4 minutes till crispy and the cheese is oozy inside. Serve with jalapeno jam and sour cream.

About Chris Brown
Sous Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.