Turning Up the Heat with Picnicka

The food at Picnicka, in Downtown Tauranga’s Thirty Eight Elizabeth, is simple, nourishing, and meant to be shared.  The menu plays with the contrast between raw, smoked and grilled dishes featuring distinct worldwide flavours.

Head chef Ryan Allen shared with us his Pickled Chillies recipe – the perfect solution to your abundant chilli harvest this Autumn.

Ryan says, “a jar of pickled chillies will service your heat cravings throughout the winter when fresh chillies are out of season, pricey and scarce. Stir them through a chicken tagine or pasta, sprinkle thin slices over salads or on burgers, blitz them into a chimichurri or use them in this Fijian style ceviche recipe below.”

Pickled Chillies
1kg chillies (we used red and green finger chillies but any will work)
2 litres water
1 tbsp course sea salt
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 litre white wine vinegar
preserving jars


For the picking solution: Boil the water, salt, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a non-reactive pan. Once completely dissolved, turn off the heat, allow to cool until the water is room temperature, strain through a muslin cloth, then add the vinegar.

Wash the chillies and leave about 2 cm of stalk attached.

Sterilise preserving jars, then pack the chillies in tightly.

Pour over the pickling solution and leave to settle, then pack in more chillies and extra pickling liquid if there is room, before sealing the lid.

Boil the jars for 15 minutes, then remove the jars from the water and turn upside down, this will prevent air pockets forming. Allow to cool. Keep the jars in a cool dark place for at least 3 weeks. Refrigerate after opening.


Serves 4–6

200g fresh tuna (or fish of your choice), diced 1cm cubes
½ cup coconut cream
2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 pickled chillies
¼ red onion, sliced very thin
5cm piece of cucumber, diced in 1cm cubes
small handful of fresh coriander, chopped with stems
salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the ceviche sit for five minutes then serve.

Serve with crackers of your choice. At Picnicka, we love serving it with our house-made black sesame crackers.

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