This homemade Sweet Chili Sauce has a delicious balance of sweetness and tanginess with a spicy kick - a perfect dip to level up your favorite fried, grilled, and roasted dishes. Why buy one, when you can make it yourself?
Asians dipping sauces come in different varieties and a range of flavors. Sweet, savory, tangy, and some spicy hot! One thing is for sure, a great dip can make a world of difference to any dish. It can transform bland fried meat into an appetizing dish.
One of the most popular Asian dips is Sweet Chili Sauce. This is very simple and easy to prepare, and the ingredients are not hard to find at all! In fact, most of them might already be in your pantry right now. It is the perfect dip for Lumpiang Shanghai, Camaron Rebusado, and Kikiam, among other things!
What is Sweet Chili Sauce?
Sweet Chili Sauce is a well-known condiment in South-East Asian Cuisine. It originated from Thailand and is called 'Nam Chim Kai' by the locals. It is simply made of peppers, vinegar, garlic, and sweeteners simmered in water until it turns into a thick sauce. Contrary to what many think, this dipping sauce is not overly spicy. Rather, it is comparable to a sweet and sour sauce but with a mild fieriness that makes it yummier and craveable!
Why make it?
We all know that sauces and condiments are readily available at various grocery stores or supermarkets. So why make it from scratch, right? Here are some of the best reasons:
- It is made of fresh ingredients and is infinitely cheaper compared to buying ready-made brands.
- Homemade condiments are free from preservatives or additives, making them safer and healthier to consume.
- Lastly, you can tweak the recipe according to your preferred taste. Do you want lesser sweetness? Use less sugar. Not spicy enough? Drop some chilis for added zing!
- Bird’s Eye Chili - you can use chili flakes or milder chilis if you prefer it less spicy.
- Red Bell Pepper - make sure to remove the seeds as they might add a bitter taste to the sauce.
- Onion - is used in this recipe as it gives a mild sweet taste.
- Garlic - it gives the sauce sharp and savory flavor.
- Potato Starch or Corn Starch is used to thicken the sauce.
- Vinegar for a little tanginess and acts also as natural preservative.
- Sugar for sweetness!
How to make Sweet Chili Sauce?
- Remove the tops and seeds of bell pepper and chili.
- Pulse bell pepper, chili, onion, garlic, and water until finely chopped.
- Transfer to a saucepan and add sugar, salt, and vinegar then simmer.
- Add the slurry to thicken. Serve or store.
Foxy tips for you!
- To keep from making the sauce too spicy, slice the chilis open then scrape off the seeds before chopping.
- Pulse the ingredients in intervals until you have very small pieces that are still somewhat distinguishable. Do not blend them to a paste.
- No food processor or blender, no problem! You can just chop the ingredients manually with your sharp knife or use a mortar and pestle. Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after.
- You can use any vinegar available, but if you prefer a milder one, you can use cane or rice vinegar to make the sauce tangy without being excessively acidic.
- Maintain a gentle simmer and continuously stir the mixture as it is cooking to avoid burning the sauce.
Shelf-life and Storage
Once the Sweet Chili Sauce is done, you can transfer it into a lidded jar and store it in the fridge for up to four weeks. The sugar and vinegar content in the sauce helps it last longer, but make sure you are not contaminating it with other food particles or it will lead to spoilage. Make sure to use clean utensils when getting the sauce from the jar. It is also ideal to sterilize the jars by boiling them in water before putting the sauce into the container.
Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
- 1 big red bell pepper or any mild/sweet red pepper seeds removed, chopped coarsely
- 1-2 pc Bird’s eye chili chopped coarsely, or chili flakes
- 1 small yellow onion chopped coarsely
- 6 cloves garlic chopped coarsely
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp potato starch/ corn starch
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 big red bell pepper or any mild/sweet red pepper, 1-2 pc Bird’s eye chiliCut out the top parts of the chilis.
- 1 big red bell pepper or any mild/sweet red pepper, 1-2 pc Bird’s eye chili, 1 small yellow onion, 6 cloves garlic, 2 cups waterPut the bell pepper, bird’s eye, onion, garlic, and water in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to cut the spices in to tiny pieces but do not let it turn into paste.
- 1 tbsp Salt, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup vinegarTransfer content to a pan. Add sugar, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until sugar and salt are dissolved. Turn the heat to low.
- 2 Tbsp potato starch/ corn starch, 2 Tbsp waterDissolve potato starch in water and add this to the pan. Cook while stirring constantly until sauce thicken a bit. Turn heat off, remove from heat and let it cool down. Do not over cook as it will go on to thicken as it cools down.
- Serve as dip or transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.