(For an updated version - with better pictures! - please check this post.)
So you're probably going: why on EARTH would I want to slave over my own chilisauce, when there are so many nice brands out there, that are even cheap? Well, I for one do, simply because this is the best one I've ever had. The taste may not be as the commercial kind, here you can taste every single ingredient - maybe I'm not able to taste the galangal from the ginger, but I know it's there! And there's just something weirdly satisfying about reading a recipe that says "2 tablespoons of chilisauce", then taking that little, dark, sweet-spicy smelling, sticky jar of your own homemade sauce out of the fridge, instead of a large bottle. I'm weird like that, but I do like that feeling...
Sweet Chili Sauce
Makes three small jars (250 ml each)
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 large red chilies, stems removed
3 thumbs of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 thumb of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
8 lime leaves
3 lemon-grass stems; remove the two outside leaves, discard the top third of the stem and finely slice the remainder
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
Ginger vs. galangal - yes, there is a difference, but if you can't get galangal, just use ginger.
Put in a food processor and purée to a coarse paste.
1½ cups caster sugar
together with 4 tablespoons water in a saucepn, place on a moderate heat, stirring well intil the sugar dissolves. When it has, remove the spoon and turn up the heat to full. Boil for 5-8 minutes, do not stir, but of course, don't let the caramel burn either. (I never actually need to turn the heat to full - it seems to boil away nicely on a medium heat with me...)
Stir in the paste, bring the sauce back to the boil and add:
100 ml cider vinegar
50 ml Asian fish sauce
50 ml tamari
Return to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour in jars, and leave to cool before eating.
The recipe is not actually made to be a keeper, but I've had mine around in jars for about a year or so, no problemos at all - I don't really do anything special to keep them, other than sterilizing the jars (ok, basically pouring boiling water over them before I fill them!) and keep them in the fridge. Also, if you want it to be HOT you could probably leave some of the chili seeds in - this really isn't hot at all, but I just am not that big on hot-hot stuff...
I stole the recipe from Peter Gordon's: The Sugar Club Cookbook, a, in my opinion, really nice book. Very pacific rim, and okay, I am a bit biased: I used to work at The Sugar Club's sister restaurant, Bali Sugar -when The Sugar Club moved to Soho, the owners opened yet another restaurant, Bali Sugar, at the original place in Notting Hill, so all the pictures in this book is from the restaurant I used to work at. Ah, memories!
In the cookbook, the chilisauce is served with grilled scallops, watercress and creme fraiche - that's a great combo, and a signature Peter Gordon dish! I'd also use the chilisauce with homemeade fries aka potato wedges - small saucer with creme fraiche, small saucer with chilisauce, and then you dip your potato wedge into each one alternately. I had this in Australia and though I at first thought the combination sorta weird, it really worked!