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22 chilli recipes to turn up the heat

If you want to feel the chilli’s beloved burn, followed by that addictive euphoria, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered a selection of recipes that call for chopped fresh green and red chillies or dried flakes to be sprinkled into fragrant curries, spicy seafood and hot Mexican dishes. (If you’re a dedicated fan of the little hot pepper, also check out our list of where to get cheesy chilli poppers around South Africa.)

Baked kidney beans with tomato-chilli and poached eggs

Baked kidney beans with tomato-chilli and poached eggs by Bern Le Roux

Baked kidney beans with tomato-chilli and poached eggs

“This is the kind of dish you could largely put together the night before a brunch and all that’s required on the day is cracking a couple of eggs and placing the dish in the oven,” says Bernadette Le Roux, author of Roots, Shoots & Leaves.
Feel the burn: One red chilli.

Barbecued chilli squid and aubergine with ginger and coriander yoghurt

Barbecued chilli squid and aubergine with ginger and coriander yoghurt by Nathan Outlaw

Barbecued chilli squid and aubergine with ginger and coriander yoghurt

“Squid works so well with Asian flavours and it’s great cooked quickly on the barbecue,” says British Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw of this dish. “The spiced aubergine is cracking with it and it’s all cooled by the ginger and coriander yoghurt.”
Feel the burn: Two fresh red chillies.

Beef Burma curry

A quick weekday dinner, this fragrant curry calls not only for chilli, but the warmth of fresh ginger, coolness of lemongrass and tang of tamarind and lime.
Feel the burn: Three red chillies.

Blue cheese oven-roasted whole mushrooms with chilli and spring onion

This simple mushroom recipe has blue cheese for richness and spring onions for zing – a quick meat-free dinner.
Feel the burn: One red chilli.

Braaied snoek with chilli-and-garlic oil

Braaied snoek is to a South African what croissants are to a Frenchman. It’s part of our heritage, culture and culinary tradition.
Feel the burn: Three large chillies.

Braaied spicy brinjals with poppadoms

Sweet roasted brinjal, tossed with chilli and lemon and served with lashings of yoghurt, makes a refreshing side for your braai, or a lovely, light meat-free option.
Feel the burn: One small chilli.

Bunny chow with sugar bean and vegetable curry

This is a classic recipe for a truly South African sarmie. Depending on your crowd or mood, make it with chunks of ‘government’ bread or chic ciabattas.
Feel the burn: One or two fresh chillies.

Butternut, chilli and feta muffins

Butternut, chilli and feta muffins

Butternut, chilli and feta muffins

The crowd-pleasing combo of butternut and feta is livened up with a hit of chilli in these savoury muffins. Serve them warm with lots of butter, pesto and fresh basil.
Feel the burn: Chilli flakes.

Charred chilli-and-lemon baby marrow pizzas with mozzarella

This pizza recipe is super-easy to make, especially if you have friends over, because everyone can get their hands stuck in. Kids will love it, too! Try other toppings such as roasted butternut, feta and olives.
Feel the burn: One fresh chilli.

Chicken makhani, coconut and okra curry

Also known as butter chicken, this rich, fragrant curry is glorious served with piping hot naan breads. Also known as ladies’ fingers, okra is sold at some neighbourhood markets and delis. Make sure it’s firm and bright green in colour.
Feel the burn: 500g green Serrano chillies.

Chilli, ginger and honey Asian-style steaks with pickled cucumbers

This steak is seriously tasty and speedy to make. You can also try the sticky sauce with chicken and cooked noodles instead.
Feel the burn: One fresh chilli.

Chilli prawns

Chilli prawns by Alida Ryder

Chilli prawns

“Like chicken wings, these prawns are best eaten with your hands,” says Alida Ryder, author of Cooking from the Heart. Best served with ice-cold beer and lots of laughter.
Feel the burn: Two fresh red chillies.

Mango and chilli mule

A fruity take on the classic vodka cocktail.
Feel the burn: Chilli-infused syrup and chilli flakes as garnish.

Mexican chicken roll

This recipe for Mexican chicken is so versatile: try it with a fresh tomato salsa on a tortilla, or toss it with some spaghetti for a quick, tasty meal. Here it’s used to fill floury, soft rolls.
Feel the burn: One medium green chilli.

Mexican-style chicken wraps

This tasty recipe can be great for parties if all the toppings are set out for guests to build their own wraps.
Feel the burn: One fresh red chilli.

Salmon with crisp chilli salad

Fresh and simple, this salmon number calls for loads of fresh herbs and heat.
Feel the burn: Four large green chillies and four large red chillies.

Sausage rolls with spicy ketchup

Serve these deliciously moist and tasty sausage rolls with spicy ketchup at your next cocktail party. They’re also great for sneaking some veggies into your kids’ meals. The recipe is courtesy of Bruce von Pressentin of Longridge Restaurant.
Feel the burn: One small red chilli.

Spicy dorado kebabs with cucumber raita and poppadoms

This fragrantly spiced fish dish is perfect for a hearty meal without the red meat.
Feel the burn: Dried chilli flakes.

Spicy prawn cakes

Spicy prawn cakes by Sarah Graham

Spicy prawn cakes with watercress pesto

These spicy prawn cakes combine delicious herbs like basil and coriander with lime zest, spring onions, sweet potato and pine seeds for a flavour explosion. The recipe comes courtesy of Smitten by Sarah Graham.
Feel the burn: Dried chilli flakes and one fresh chilli.

Sweetcorn with chilli, ginger and honey butter

This is nutritious finger food with very little washing up, perfect for those nights when you need a quick meal with minimal fuss.
Feel the burn: One or two fresh green chillies.

Thai green curry

Thai green curry

Thai green curry

This easy recipe is guaranteed to give you the authentic, fuss-free south-east Asian favourite in minutes. Green curry paste is the base of all of the flavours, with green chillies lending their intense, fresh green flavour.
Feel the burn: Two fresh green chillies.

Warm Mexican red bean birria

A spicy and comforting vegetarian recipe, this stew can be paired with warm flatbreads and enjoyed with a glass of red wine.
Feel the burn: Two red chillies.

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