~Simply Irresistible: Sweet Heat Thai Red Chili Sauce~
Simply irresistible indeed. This is perhaps my favorite of all the Thai-style condiments I use for dipping and drizzling. Next to spicy and slightly-salty peanut sauce, I could and do put it on and add it to almost anything Thai. I got my first taste of sweet and hot Thai chili sauce (Mae Ploy) back in the 1990's and it rocked my food world. That's why there's always sweet chili sauce in my refrigerator, and, I won't lie, it's often store-bought. That said, sweet chili sauce is not hard to make. If you're a purist, or simply curious, you should try making it at home at least at least once.
Simply irresistible, &, it only takes about 5 minutes.
Note: Homemade chili sauce made the way I'm making it today, using red pepper flakes, is not as red colored as the mass-produced, pasteurized, store-bought. That's because store-bought sweet chili sauce is made using loads of pulverized, bright-red, pickled, Thai bird chile peppers. Some recipes instruct to add Sriracha sauce to achieve the red color, but I find that product to vinegary for this culinary application. For me, 4 drops of red food coloring works perfectly.
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon pressed garlic, about 4 large cloves run through a press, or, 1 tablespoon store-bought garlic paste
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch, stirred together with:
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon cold water
~Step 1. In a 1-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, vinegar and water. Just stir long enough to combine, not to dissolve the sugar completely (that will come later). Set aside. Run the garlic through a press and set aside. Stir together the cornstarch, fish sauce and cold water. Set aside.
~Step 2. Bring sugar mixture to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add and stir in the pressed garlic and crushed red pepper. Adjust heat (lower it a bit), to a steady simmer and cook, stirring constantly for 1 full minute. Re-stir the cornstarch mixture. Adjust heat to a gentle simmer (lower it more) and drizzle in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until nicely thickened, about 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat, cover the saucepan, and set aside 15-30 minutes.
Transfer to a pretty container, cool, then store in refrigerator.
It's divine drizzled on my Thai-style fried chicken nuggets:
Special Equipment List: garlic press; ramekin; spoon; 1-quart saucepan w/lid; 1-cup food storage container w/tight-fitting lid
Cook's Note: Peanut sauce is common to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Africa. The main ingredients are roasted peanuts or peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and palm sugar. Pulverized spices (red chiles, coriander, cumin, garlic, galangal and/or lemongrass, are also added. Purchase it? It's so easy to make, I don't know why you would. Try my ~ Thai-Style Spicy Peanut Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)