This dish’s intensity is modified by pre-cooking the chillies and garlic. Grilling imparts a mellower, sweeter flavour than if the ingredients were used raw. This jeow may be made with small, hot green and reddening (immature) chillies, or if a milder flavour is preferred, use immature, longer green chillies or the large, sweeter pale green chillies of a size suitable for stuffing. The younger the chillies, the less hot they are.
1 handful immature chillies (about 22 small chillies for a hot jeow or 2 – 3 large pale green chillies for a mild jeow)
6 medium cloves garlic (or a small garlic head)
½ t chicken stock powder (or 1 teaspoon of fish sauce and a little sugar), (optional)
½ t salt
2 sprigs coriander
2 T (approx) water or stock
- Choose a mix of small immature chillies from green to nearly red, with the balance more towards the green. Thread them through their middles, so they lie side by side on toothpicks. Each toothpick will take about 7 – 8 of the small ones. Large chillies can be grilled separately.
- Grill the chillies and unpeeled garlic cloves, turning occasionally until the chilli skin crinkles slightly and has occasional blisters and the insides soften (about 7 minutes). Grilling may be done on a wire rack over a gas flame, on tinfoil on a heating element, under a grill or over a low fire, the usual village way.
- Remove the grilled chillies and garlic as they become ready. Deskewer the chillies when cool.
- If using big chillies, remove any blistered skin and chop into 1 cm (¼ in) pieces. Placing the chillies in a plastic bag to cool for a couple of minutes before removing the skin makes this easy.
- If using stock powder, place it and salt in a mortar or food processor.
- Peel the cloves of garlic and add to the mortar. Add the chillies to the mortar. Pound with a pestle for several minutes (or process until the ingredients form a coarse paste). The individual ingredients should be recognizable, but blended together.
- Remove any thick stems from the coriander and finely chop the leaves and finer stems. Add to the jeow. Add the water or stock. Mix, thinning the jeow to the consistency of a thick spread or salsa.
- Serve with sticky rice and steamed vegetables.