Chilli sauce - Recipe variations for making homemade chilli sauce.

chilli sauce

Chilli sauce is a hot-tasting, power-packed sauce made from a mixture of chilli peppers and other ingredients. It is included in many types of cuisines from all over the world, notably from Mexico, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Africa.

We generally tend to use chilli sauce as a dipping sauce or salsa-type accompaniment to meat or fish dishes, where it is often served on the side of the plate or in a separate dipping pot.
The hotness of the sauce will depend on the type of chillies used and how strong they are. Generally, the larger the chilli, the milder it is.

Up until recently, the Red Savina Habanero chilli was the hottest type of chilli pepper in the world but this has now been overtaken in the hotness rankings by the Bhut Jolokia pepper, an incredibly hot specimen, cultivated at the New Mexico State University.

Capsaicin is a chemical that occurs naturally in chilli peppers together with other compounds that fall under the general term of capsaicinoids. These chemical compounds are responsible for the heat in chilli peppers, and the ratio of the various compounds determines the strength of the heat.

Capsaicinoids are fat soluble, which means that when consumed with a "fat", the fat sticks to the active ingredient within the chilli that produces the heat, lessening its effectiveness to burn. Therefore, if a chilli or chilli sauce is too "hot", foods such as milk or yoghurt are most effective in combating the burning sensation, whereas water is of no use whatsoever.

There are numerous recipes for chilli sauce that use different ingredients and methods to prepare it, depending on the origin of the recipe. Sauces can be made with fresh or dried chillies, by mixing ingredients together or by boiling them down to form a sauce.

The most common ingredients found in a chilli sauce are red chillies, vinegar, salt and sugar, but other ingredients may include tomatoes, onions, oil, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

As we become more adventurous and experimental with our cooking, variations such as Thai sweet chilli sauce and chocolate chilli sauce are also finding their way into our dishes and proving to be just as popular.

Below are just a few of our favourite recipes for chilli sauce and some of its variations.

Thick chilli sauce recipe

  • 175ml (6fl oz) of rice vinegar
  • 115g (4oz) of caster sugar
  • 1 diced red chilli
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • salt
Heat the vinegar and sugar with a pinch of salt in a saucepan, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until a syrupy mixture has formed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the chilli and shallots to the mixture and stir well. Transfer to a serving pot and use with your recipe.

Hot chilli sauce recipe

  • half a packet of dried whole red chillies
  • 200g (7oz) tomato ketchup
  • 100g (4oz) of sugar
  • 30g (1oz) of vinegar
  • black pepper
  • water
Rinse the chillies, cut off any stalks and place in a saucepan.

Cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the chillies turn soft. Allow to cool.

Transfer the chillies and the remaining water in the saucepan to a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well until a paste is produced. Transfer to airtight jars and store in the refrigerator.

Chilli and lime sauce recipe

  • 3 finely chopped red chillies
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp of honey
  • 4 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp of lime juice
Blend together the honey, soy sauce and the lime juice until smooth. Stir in the chillies and the garlic and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Simple chilli sauce recipe

  • 3 red chillies
  • 85g (3oz) of granulated sugar
  • 6 tsp of white rice vinegar
  • water
Place the sugar and vinegar with 2 tbsp of water into a saucepan. Add the whole chillies. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender and blend until a smooth sauce is formed.

Strain the sauce, saving 1 tsp of the chilli mixture. Add the unstrained sauce to the main sauce and cool. Store in airtight jars or containers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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