This post is long overdue. In fact, were it not for the Our Growing Edge bloggers challenge, hosted this month over at one of my faves, The Veggie Mama, it would be even longer overdue. What am I on about? Well, I finally had a go at making sweet chilli sauce, something that has been on my to-do list for years.
Before I share the sweet chilli sauce recipe I adapted, let me tell you about the Our Growing Edge challenge and why it excited me so. Food bloggers, who are wonderful people who put a lot of effort into providing free recipes and inspiration for us home chefs, are invited to tackle something they have thus far been afraid to try and blog about it. What that means for you and me is that if we had every thought about, say, making our own Nutella or braving a risotto, you’ll find honest posts where real people have got in there and given it a bash.
I’m a huge fan of cooking from scratch as it cuts waste from packaging, saves all the energy involved in mass production and shipping foodstuffs around, and connects us with what we eat and what’s involved in its production. As in, “Don’t eat all the biscuits, kids, or we’ll have to make more tomorrow.”
Anything you can buy in the supermarket you can make at home. Okay, it might not be exactly the same unless you’re willing to use some ingredients that sound like a science experiment. (The other great bonus of cooking from scratch is that you know exactly what you’re putting in an can control the quality of ingredients.)
My family eats a lot of sweet chilli sauce. Like, a lot. Waitresses in Asian restaurants have nearly fainted when they see how much chilli one of my sprogs can put away, and with no apparent ill effects. At home, we use sweet chilli sauce on stir-fries, lentil burgers, fried rice, with chips (and mayo) sometimes, and I’ll chuck it into soup or anything else that’s a bit bland. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at the bottle, saw that there are only a few real ingredients (and a bunch of unpronouncables) and thought, “I must look up a sweet chilli sauce recipe”.
Finally, thanks to a row of chilli plants that just keep on giving, I did it, and the results are amazing. It tastes… just like sweet chilli sauce. Imagine that! The sauce is thick and piquant. I was a little horrified at the amount of sugar that went into it, but I am willing to forget in the interests of good stir-fries.
I used this sweet chilli sauce recipe from Taste.com.au, which makes it all seem very easy, maybe a bit easier than it actually it. As I have some comments and adjustments to suggest, I will rewrite it below, including instructions for sterilizing the jars:
Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 500g long fresh red chillies, stems trimmed
- 3 or more garlic cloves, peeled (I used five)
- 750ml (3 cups) white vinegar
- 645g (3 cups) caster sugar (I only had brown and raw sugar so I used a mixture of both)
- 3 x jam jars or other glass container with a lid that will seal
Note: prepping all the chillies will take about half an hour and your hands will burn afterwards. Make sure you don’t have any noses to wipe or mouths to feed while you’re doing this!
- Halve 100g of the chillies and place in the bowl of a food processor (for hotter sauce, leave more chillies with their seeds in, around 200g). Halve and deseed the remaining chillies. Coarsely chop and place in the food processor. Add garlic and 250ml white vinegar. Process until finely chopped, keep pushing the mixture down at the edges so you get a nice consistency.
- Place the chilli mixture, remaining vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.
- Meanwhile, place your jars (to fit 3-4 cups or 750ml or sauce) and lids into a saucepan of boiling water and boil for 20 minutes.
- For sauce: increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to a hour or until the sauce starts to get gloopy.
- When jars have boiled for 20 minutes, remove with tongs and stand upright on a wooden chopping board in an airy place. The water will evaporate.
- When your sauce is thick but still runny, pour into jars (I used a funnel) and seal, allow to cool then store in the fridge where it will thicken further and greet you every time you open the door.
To find out more about Our Growing Edge and to find all the posts that have been linked up and shared, visit Bunny. Eats. Design.