All of this is really just a long way of saying that when I saw this recipe for DIY Chile Garlic Sauce on Healthy Green Kitchen, I knew I had to make it. This weekend has been unseasonably warm in London with record October temperatures and beautiful blue skies. If we had any outside space then it would have been the perfect weather for a barbecue. As it was, we cooked a rack of ribs in the oven and enjoyed them with rice and a spoonful of chili sauce for a kick. Because the sauce is uncooked, the fresh heat would also work really well with Chinese/Thai/Japanese flavours too.
My family has a long running love affair with chili sauce. On many occasions, we have judged a restaurant solely on the quality of their condiments and a good chili sauce will keep us coming back for more, time and again.
The love affair started in a Greek restaurant in Richmond, where I grew up. I was a very picky eater when I was a child. If we went out for a meal, we would either have to go to a French restaurant where I could have a very rare steak or to an Italian restaurant where I could have lasagne. Any other type of cuisine was a recipe for disaster. We once went to a Chinese restaurant where my parents ordered my brother and I lemon chicken thinking that this was the most inoffensive item on the menu only to have to make a swift exit half an hour later with two hysterical children who had refused to eat anything. Such happy times.
One Friday night, however, they convinced us (and by ‘us’, I really mean me because I was the malign influence) to try a local Greek restaurant with the promise that, if all else failed, we could just have a plate of plain grilled meat. As that was pretty much the best meal that I could imagine, I agreed to give it a try.
Thankfully for all concerned, this was not a repeat of the lemon chicken incident and we spent many a meal diving into piles of perfectly grilled meat and mounds of the most delicious rice imaginable, all topped with a healthy dose of a spicy tomato-chili sauce. I admit that I was initially sceptical of the sauce (it contained vegetables And flavour!) but I soon grew to love it as much as the rest of my family. Now, whenever we head to our favourite Turkish restaurant, we inevitably have to request at least one, if not two, refills of our little dish of chili sauce as we spoon it with abandon over everything in sight.
I used a combination of green and red chillies mainly, it has to be said, because the supermarket didn’t have quite enough red chillies but I do like the effect that it gives. Because a little taste of my chillies proved that they were surprisingly hot, I ended up removing the seeds before blending and adding more sugar than the recipe calls for. It’s important to taste as you go along but I’d advise having some bread or something on hand just in case. Oh and if you are going to de-seed all your chillies, be prepared for your hands to be stinging for a good couple of days unless you take necessary precautions. Take my word for it, I do these things so that you don’t have to.
As an aside, I froze the leftovers and pulled it out the freezer for tonight. I will let you know what, if any, effect freezing had on the sauce in due course.
7 green chillies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
7 red chillies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt
4 gloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
60ml brown rice vinegar
1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend away until you have the desired texture. Taste and add more sugar/vinegar/salt as required. Store in the fridge.