I am absolutely addicted to this sweet chilli sauce and I wish I could say I’d written the recipe myself but it’s actually by Diana Henry, one of my favourite recipe writers and whose cook books I use more than anyone else’s. I came across this recipe a few years ago and it has become a staple in our family. I keep a Kilner jar of it in the fridge all the time. It goes brilliantly with so many different things: grilled and barbecued meat and fish, cheese (it’s phenomenal with cheese on toast), as an accompaniment to numerous Asian dishes, as a salad dressing, even spooned onto jacket potatoes with a dollop of Greek yoghurt…the list goes on!
The big bunch of coriander that goes into this recipe is a brilliant flavour addition and it is the main reason this sauce doesn’t look like the orangey red gloopy shop-bought version because the chopped green herbs give it a much darker appearance.
There are just a few small things I do slightly differently from the original recipe:
- The original is quite runny so I add some cornflour at the end for a thicker sauce.
- I deseed all the chillis as I found the original recipe a bit too hot with half the chillis left unseeded but this is obviously down to personal preference.
- I omit the large piece of root ginger in the original recipe and replace it with 2 sticks of lemongrass.
- Finally, I love the inclusion of coriander – I think it makes this recipe – so where Diana Henry’s ingredients list states ‘a large bunch of coriander, stalks removed’, I use a 100g bunch and include the stalks.
- 6 large, fresh red chillis, deseeded, flesh chopped roughly
- 2 sticks of lemongrass, finely chopped, hard root and tough outer leaves removed first
- grated zest of 3 limes and juice of 2
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 100g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 300g caster sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
- 120ml white wine vinegar
- 50ml Thai fish sauce
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Put the chilli, lemongrass, lime juice and zest, garlic and coriander leaves into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
- Put the sugar into a heavy-bottomed pan with 6 tbsp water and place on a medium low heat until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Increase the heat and boil until the syrup becomes a caramel colour.
- Tip the chopped chilli mixture, vinegar and fish sauce into the caramel, standing back as the fumes can be strong, and simmer for two minutes.
- Mix 1 tbsp cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water. Take the pan off the heat, add the cornflour and stir well. Return the pan to the heat and simmer for a further minute to thicken.
- Cool then refrigerate. Keeps for a couple of months.