Why buy Sweet Heat Chili Sauce at the store when you can make it at home in 15 minutes and at a fraction of the cost? I bet you already have all of the ingredients on hand too!
My first introduction to the taste of Sweet Heat Chili Sauce was a few years ago. I was walking along College Street in Toronto with some friends and we decided to stop and order wings. There were four of us so we decided to all order a different type and we could all share.
Now, if I’m at a restaurant I’ve never been to before, I tend to play it safe. I’ll order the most basic thing to see how well they can prepare it. That night, I ordered Honey Garlic Chicken Wings, because it’s almost impossible to mess that up!
I don’t remember what the other orders were, but I do remember that one friend ordered Sweet Chili Thai Wings. Well, I knew I wasn’t going to try those, because they were bound to be too hot and spicy for me. I was wrong! The sweetness of the sugar in the sauce completely tones down and balances out the spiciness of the chilies. Since then, Sweet Heat Chili Sauce has become one of my favourite flavours.
STORE BOUGHT VERSUS HOMEMADE
In the instance I buy the sauce rather than make it myself, I’ll buy Trader Joe’s brand if I’m in the US. Otherwise, I will buy the Thai Kitchen brand. Both are really good! You may have your own favourite go-to brand too, but I encourage you to try making your own and compare the two. The homemade version will win every single time.
Other than the taste, there are two other reasons to make your own sauce. First, I can guarantee that you’ll have at least 90% of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge already. I’m going to make the assumption that you like to cook, otherwise, you might not be reading a food blog. If you like to cook, no doubt you’ll have a well stocked pantry and fridge.
The second thing is that this recipe takes literally 15 minutes from start to finish. You’ll end up with two cups of sauce, which is more than what you’ll get in most bottles from the store. And you can keep the sauce in the fridge for weeks at a time.
I may have given you more than two or three reasons why this homemade version of the sauce is better than store-bought. It seems I never know when to stop arguing my point!
PUTTING YOUR SAUCE TO USE
When I say that you can put this sauce on just about anything, I’m not kidding. I love it on chicken and pork. I cube chicken or pork and cook it in a skillet with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and maybe a sliced onion. When it’s browned and cooked through, reduce the heat and pour in the sauce. Toss to coat and you’re done!
You can use it as a dip for things like spring rolls, fried wontons, or dumplings. It’s really good as a marinade too. Consider using it as a marinade on shrimp or steak before grilling them.
I’ve used the sauce on my homemade vegetarian meatballs. They were delicious! Try using it as a dip for some of your favourite fried appetizers like mozzarella sticks or jalapeno poppers. It’s also really good drizzled over some plain white steamed rice!
Looking for a quick appetizer? Mix some of the sauce into softened cream cheese and serve with crackers and crostini. Everyone will love it! I told you this sauce was completely versatile. You’ll use it up very quickly and you’ll find yourself right back here looking for the recipe again and again!
Sweet Heat Chili Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 5 tablespoons dried red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 tablespoons corn starch (mixed with 4 tablespoons water)
- Add the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, dried red chili flakes, and ketchup to a sauce pan. Whisk everything together very well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Whisking often.
- Once bubbling, stir together the cornstarch and water in a measuring cup. Pour into the sauce mixture and whisk to combine.
- The sauce will thicken very quickly. Turn off heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour hot sauce into sterile jars and store in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.