The Chilli Chick Shop

When we say that Liesl Addicoat’s food is ‘hot’, it’s a compliment of the highest order.

The founder of The Chilli Chick Shop, Liesl, a chef by trade, shares her passion for flavoursome food through the products she makes in her kitchen, her range available through her business, The Chilli Chick Shop.

Hearing Liesl tell her story, it’s as though she was always meant to arrive at this place. After serving her chef apprenticeship at the Royal Pines Resort, Liesl gained experience in Australian kitchens before spreading her wings to work in the Canadian Rockies for a number of years.

On her return home, Liesl moved into food industry training and product development in a corporate environment. Little did she know that a geographical move was about to change the direction of her career.

“We moved to the Tweed region in 2016 and were pleasantly surprised at the amazing produce in the area,” Liesl says.

Her husband, a keen gardener, expanded their home garden, growing vegetables including different varieties of chillies, their produce inspiring Liesl’s creativity as she began making chilli sauces and relishes for friends, using her sauces as a base for recipe development.

As word of the bold flavours and textures of Liesl’s sauces spread, demand grew.

“It was time to try something for me, to take the plunge to follow my passion fulltime,” she tells us, describing the launch of her business at the Chinderah Chilli Festival in March 2018 as the first time her range really went on show to a wider audience.

Inspired by the Tweed’s local produce, The Chilli Chick Shop’s products are all handcrafted, small batch chilli spiced condiments made from Australian fresh produce, sourced not only ‘hyperlocally’ from her own garden, from the surrounding Tweed area and further afield in Queensland when necessary.

While we may not be fully aware of their widespread use in Australia, almost 16% per cent of the world’s food production is chilli-related, with over 400 different varieties of chilli grown worldwide.

“We use six or seven different types of chillies in our products,” Liesl tells us, naming her sources as local producers (Todd at Farmstrong Farm in Tyalgum, who grows over 200 different varieties of chillies), as well as Bing Peppers in Cairns and a Bundaberg farm in winter, as chilli growing is seasonal.

While there are traditional hot sauces in The Chilli Chick Shop range, such as the ‘Some Like It Hot’ sauce that contains five different types of chilli, how Liesl’s business is different to others is that she combines chilli with other vegetables, such as local sweet potatoes, beetroot, pear and traditional tomato, resulting in sauces that are full of flavour and texture, achieved without preservatives or fillers.

Embellished by Asian spices such as saffron and tamarind or native Australian plants such as pepperleaf, The Chilli Chick Shop products are completely different from anything else on the market, suitable for gluten-free and vegan diners as well.

“It’s not just about heat, it’s always about flavour first,” Liesl says, adding that she makes products to suit all palates from mild to feisty and sweet to savoury.

I get what Liesl means when I try her best-selling Beetroot Chilli Relish, the soothing coolness of beetroot broken by a medium heat chilli as it lingers on the palate. It makes a perfect topping for a ham sandwich, so different to the Treacle Chilli Onion Relish whose jammy bite is a great complement to barbequed beef sausages.

Try the A Little Bit Jammy conserve, its sweet peach and saffron notes counterbalanced by chili hot enough to linger on the lips, its citrus acidity a good balance for the richness of roast pork, or as an accompaniment to soft cheese, particularly poured over baked camembert with rosemary.

Two of my ‘go to’s are the Coconut Sambal, an Asian sprinkle mix complex enough to pimp simple stir fries and soup into greatness, and the Cheeky Sweet Chilli Sauce packed with Asian produce, the perfect accompaniment for many vegetable and meat dishes. I’ve used both products in the recipe below to create a showy, punchy appetiser suitable to precede a curry.

Inspired by local produce, in just two years, Liesl has taken The Chilli Chick Shop’s products from humble beginnings to acclaim, being honoured with five awards at the 2020 Mr Chilli Awards. It’s well worth getting your hands on some of Liesl’s ‘hot’ creations.

NOTE: The Chilli Chick Shop products can be ordered online through The Chilli Chick Shop. The website also includes recipes and more information.

Bang Choy Bow

Ingredients

¼ cup flaked coconut

¼ cup raw unsalted peanuts

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed or finely chopped

1 shallot, finely sliced

150 g chicken thigh, finely chopped

2 beans, finely sliced

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 – 2 tbsp The Chilli Chick Shop Cheeky Sweet Chilli Sauce plus extra to garnish (optional)

½ lime, juiced

10 Malabar spinach leaves (can use baby cos lettuce), rinsed and dried

¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned, stalks removed

2 tbsp The Chilli Chick Shop Coconut Sambal

Method

Dry roast the coconut and peanuts separately in a wok for 5 minutes or until golden brown. When cool, chop the peanuts roughly and set aside with the coconut, julienned kaffir lime leaves and coconut sambal.

Heat the oils in the wok over a high heat and sauté garlic, ginger, shallot and chicken until the meat has browned. Add the beans, fish sauce, chilli sauce and lime juice, tasting to balance flavour between sweet and sour. Cook for a minute or two, taking care to let the beans remain crisp. Stir in most of the coriander and turn off the heat, reserving some coriander to garnish.

Lay the spinach (or cos) leaves out on a platter, topping each leaf with chicken mixture. Drizzle a little extra Cheeky Sweet Chilli sauce over the top to garnish and a sprinkle of the coconut, peanuts, coriander, sambal and julienned kaffir lime leaves. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Adapted from a Thai recipe for Miang Kham.