In ode of Mama Lil’s

Top up your pantry

Red chillies are currently in season. Purchase a batch and pickle them to top up your pantry. Perfect touch to add to tomato-based pastas, pimp up a slider, or heat up a fresh and crisp salad.

Last summer we had the pleasure of having an American chef working with us. His name was Graham and he hailed from the lovely rural town of Sonoma in California. He loved working with local ingredients just as much as we do. Therefore the moment we got our hands on a batch of red chillies which were in need of some love, we knew who to trust them with.

The boss with Chef Graham
With the man with plan, Chef Graham (on the right)

Graham took inspiration from an American brand called Mama Lil’s. The idea was to pickle the chillies. The end result was great that be it for our wine tastings, or pinched during staff meals, we were dishing out chunks of pickled chillies like popcorn.

The few jars of pickled chillies didn’t last much. Therefore this year we decided to be one step ahead. Thankfully we are still in touch with Graham (THANK YOU WHATSAPP), and he immediately sent over the recipe he used last year.

Red chillies are currently in season at the Maltese food market (pitkalija). The other day we sourced a whole crate-load to do some much needed preserving.

We have made our first batch for this summer and decided to share the recipe with you too to give it a try. Rest assured that you will find good use for that jar of chillies you will prepare.

Good Luck

In the meantime we wish Graham and his wife Jessica a prosperous future. They have moved back to California and we miss them both. Hopefully one day in the future we will have the opportunity to meet up once again for old times sake. ?

Pickled Red Chillies

Preserve them when in season and they will be great to add to salads, pasta dishes or a juicy slider
Servings 1 litre
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins


  • 500 grams Red Chilli Peppers
  • 500 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 25 grams Sea Salt
  • 25 grams Brown Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 sprigs Thyme or Oregano
  • 6 cloves Garlic (slightly crushed)
  • 125 ml Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Black Peppercorns


  • Wash the red chilli peppers with cold water and cut into 1 inch pieces. Discard the stems and most of the seeds.
  • Bring all the other ingredients to a high simmer in a heavy-bottom pot.
  • Add the chopped chilli peppers in the simmering pickle and continue simmering on low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Bottle the chilli peppers and pot juices in sterilised jars.
    Pickled Red Chillies
  • Boil the sealed jars in hot water (bain-marie) for 20 minutes. Leave to cool and store in a dark dry place. Will be ready to use in 1 weeks and should last for 6 to 8 months.


You can consider swapping the brown sugar for honey or carob syrup.
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Food, in season, mis en place, pickled, Preserved, red chillies

Did you try this recipe?

Please let us know how it turned out for you! Send us an e-mail or tag @maldonadobistro on Instagram and hashtag it #amaltesepantry.

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