This Thai-inspired gift idea requires a little advance prep, but these chilli, lime and lemongrass-infused shallots are so delicious.
Makes: 3-4


    • 125g (4oz) table salt
    • 1kg (2¼lb) shallots, peeled
    • 500ml bottle white wine or cider vinegar
    • 125g (4oz) caster sugar
    • 3-8 red chillies
    • 1-2 sticks lemon grass
    • 3-8 lime leaves
    • 3-4 jars


    1. Place the salt in a large, non-metallic bowl and pour 1 litre (1¾ pints) boiling water over. Stir until the salt dissolves to give a brine, then leave the brine to cool.
    1. Add the shallots to the brine, and place a plate on top of them to keep them submersed in the brine. Leave the shallots in the brine for 1-2 days, stirring them occasionally.
    1. Pour the vinegar into a saucepan (preferably not an aluminium pan) and add the sugar. Warm the vinegar gently until the sugar dissolves, then remove the pan from the heat and leave the vinegar to cool.
    1. Drain the shallots from the brine, rinse, pat dry and pack them into jars, adding 1-2 chillies, ¼-½ stick of lemon grass and 1-2 lime leaves to each jar.
    1. Seal the jars with vinegar-proof lids, and keep shallots in a cool, dry place for at least 1-2 weeks before eating. The shallots will keep in a cool place for up to 2 months.

Gift idea: Tie a ribbon either around the top of the jar, or the clasp. Make sure the containers won’t leak, but warn the recipient in advance that the present must be kept upright.Feature: Sue McMahon. Photos: Simon Pask. Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe

Nutritional information per portion

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.