On The Eighth Day of Christmas: Photo Makeover! The Best Sweet Chili Sauce. Still

Shameless, shameless. Yes, weekends should be the time where I had plenty of hours at my leisure, to spend blogging and - you know, doing the other things life requires of me. And that is exactly what I have been doing - the things life's requiring of me. Like making chilisauce again, 'cause lordy, we've almost run out - oh the horror!

Of course, I jumped at the chance to snap some new pictures while I was at it. As much as I am a kind of person that very seldom regrets anything, I just didn't feel very, well - proud - of the photos accompanying my original post for chilisauce. Which, coincidentally, is probably my most Google'd post. (I'm second on the list - doesn't that make me almost famous?!?) Honestly, those photos are crap, and the people arriving here from Google deserve better. You deserve better. And while I still have a whole lot to learn in the photography department, I can, without saying too much, do better than that, today. So here is the post again, recycled, but all brand new. (If you haven't made this yet, I still urge you to try it. It's easy, and the results are so, so worth it)

The Best Sweet Chili Sauce. EVAH!
Originally posted to Food & Thoughts on March 4th, 2005

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)

You need:
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

Put in a food processor and purée to a coarse paste.

Then put
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!


Dagmar said…
I love the new photos! We tried this recipe when you first posted it in 2005 and it's wonderful. We love this sauce. I even planned to do it as an extra Christmas present to my brother this year, but I just didn't have the time.
Amelia PS said…
wow wow wow!!! I now NEED to make this sauce!!! wonderful pics too.
waterfallcats said…
Why is the sauce brown in this picture but orange in the other picture? the sauce I made looks more like the current picture...did I need bigger chillies or something?
Zarah Maria said…
Waterfallcats - I would say the pictures in this post are more true to the real version - I wasn't that skilled in the photography department back when I did the first post. Sorry for the confusion!
Anonymous said…
Well being a chili freak i recently searched google for some recipe's for sweet chili sauce i came across this recipe and gave it a go, what can i say absolutly delicious i was so amazed by the taste and how easy it is to make, i wont be buying supermarket chili sauce again truly amazing!! Thankyou for sharing this recipe.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. My husband has recently developed an intollerance for many foods that are processed and we are both foodies. We have needed to substitute many things in our diet and have cut out all bottled sauces. Most recipes for sweet chilli sauce have loads of vinegar in them, but we can't even have vinegar,so...I will try your recipe and will have to leave out the vinegar...I wonder if it will still be delicious. We can but try!
oh wow... I made this recipe tonight. Everything you said is true. You eat a spoonful and get this amazing hit of the coriander with a secondary hit of the ginger. I wanted to drink it! I had to leave out the vinegar due to my husband's dietary limits, but it still tasted awesome. Thank you for this recipe.
Unknown said…
I loved this recipe first time round and I now regularly receive requests from my daughters and their numerous frineds for Dad's amazing Chilli Sauce. Guess what they will be getting as a Christmas stocking filler this year ? .... Again :)
Wzorin said…
Hi, what kind of tamarind do you use for this recipe? thanks

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