I don’t remember when I first came across sweet chilli sauce. However, I know it made a real impression on me when I was back packing around Australia with a friend. One of our staple meals that could be bought just about anywhere was nachos with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. It was great because it was cheap and filling – perfect when you are living on a budget. However, it was not until we went trekking in Lamington National Park and stayed in a guest house that I discovered the wonders of sweet chilli sauce in a dip. Since then I have never looked back.
I started trying to make sweet chilli sauce about a year ago. The first attempt wasn’t a wild success because I didn’t let the liquid reduce enough, subsequently I had a very thin, runny syrup that tasted OK , but wasn’t quite right. My last attempt worked much better as it was more the consistency of runny honey and I played around with the ingredients a bit and the flavour was really good, not too hot and not too sweet.
Last week I used a combination of the sweet chilli sauce, my Chinese plum sauce and soy sauce to form a marinade for a pork stir-fry. When I made goat’s cheese pancakes the other day I tried one of them with a little of the sweet chilli sauce and they went together surprisingly well. But the most common use for the sauce in our house is in dips.
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Ingredients: (makes roughly 750ml)
- 600g sugar
- 400ml water
- 400ml cider vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 hot chillies (finely diced)
- 1 ½” ginger (peeled and finely grated)
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and place on a high heat.
- Bring it up to a rolling boil and leave it to reduce down until you have the consistency that you are looking for – then bottle.
A simple dip
- 3 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
- 1-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- pepper (to season)
- 3 chive stalks, chopped (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season with pepper, taste and add more sweet chilli sauce if needed.
- Serve with carrot sticks, crisps etc.