If you love Chinese or Indo-Chinese cuisine, some kind of chili sauce is a must in your pantry. I made some of my own, but I must warn you, it is one spicy, firecracker sauce! It has the burning, lingering heat of dried red chilies combined with the smoky goodness of garlic.
You can use this sauce in stir fries, add it to any kind of Indo-Chinese gravy-like dishes, use it to marinate meat or the best use – lightly toss cooked noodles in a little oil, soy sauce and a touch of chili-garlic sauce. It doesn’t get better.
It is extremely spicy, I almost called it a firecracker sauce. But I did not want you to confuse it with a sauce made with firecracker peppers, but you get the point, don’t you?
Preparation can start a day in advance by soaking the chilies in water to plump them up. But if you are hard-pressed for time, just cook the chilies in a little water and they should be plump and ready in five minutes.
Do not, and I repeat, do not attempt to make this if you have infants or kids around or just plain spice-sissies (you know who they are!). The chilies simmering on the stove will burn your eyes and open your sinuses, and at the same time, make your mouth water.
HOMEMADE SPICY RED CHILI & GARLIC SAUCE
You will need:
- Dried red chilies – 1 cup, around 75 gm
- Water – 3/4 cup, approximately
- Garlic – 1 large head, crushed and roughly chopped
- Oil – 1/4 cup
- Vinegar – 1/4 cup
- Salt – 1 tbsp
- Sugar – 1 tbsp
- De-seed the red chilies as best as you can. Just break each chili in half and the seeds should all just fall away. A few stray seeds are okay.
- Take the chilies in a pan and add water. The water should just cover the chilies. Heat it on the stove for 4-5 minutes, the chilies will lighten in color and become plump. Add garlic right towards the end and cook for a minute more. The water will be mostly absorbed by now.
- Coarsely grind the chilies and garlic in a food processor or blender.
- Heat oil in the pan and return the chili–garlic mixture to the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook till you see the sauce come together and the oil separating at the sides.
- Cool the sauce in pan, transfer to a clean, dry jar and refrigerate. The flavors will develop and mature over a few days.
- Remember to use this sauce sparingly in a dish, you can always add more.
- All said and done, you could somewhat tame this hot sauce if you want to. Just add a can of tomato sauce or a cup of brown sugar while simmering the sauce. You MUST cook it till you see the oil separating at the sides, only then will it be fit for any kind of long-term storage.
- Grind the chilies and garlic well if you like a smoother texture.
Do you love chili sauce? Ever thought of making it at home? Do try this then. But don’t come crying if your eyes and tongue burn. I’ve warned you!
Stay tuned for recipes using this fiery chili and garlic sauce!