Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot)
As promised, this is the recipe of tướng ớt, literally spicy dipping sauce in Vietnamese. It's ultra easy. This sauce is great for dipping and stir-frying. The last time I used this condiment was for my father-in-law's favorite Asian dish, green beans and tofu stir fry.
It contains the bare minimum ingredients: something sweet, something savory and of course a ton of spiciness. This blend has a delicious garlic flavor.
Every year, my husband Lulu plants an incredible amount of all sorts of chiles. My parents-in-law loves extremely spicy food. Before I got married, I hated spicy food. To be honest, I could barely handle a dash of black pepper, let alone a jalapeno or heaven forbid a habanero. I guess marrying into an Indian family helped my taste buds. I've gotten better. I'm learning.
Yields: 1 jar15 whole fresh red chili peppers
1 tsp grey salt
8 tsp garlic , finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbs sugar cane
3 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp corn starch
2 Tbs water
Pick fully ripened extremely red in color chilis. Wash them. Pat dry them with a paper towel. Remove all stems then roughly slice all the chiles.
Blend the chili peppers, salt, garlic, sugar and vinegar in a mini-prep with about 10 pulses.
Dissolve the cornstarch in water.
Transfer the chili mixture into a saucepan and bring to a a boil. Add the cornstarch liquid. Lower the heat to simmer for about 5-6 minutes. Stir constantly to make sure the cornstarch is properly absorbed.
Place the cooked mixture in a small jar. Let it cool down to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.
You can use any other kind of vinegar and also use regular white sugar. I just find that sugar cane brings extra flavor.
You know the saying: you eat with our eyes first. It's important that you pick only fully ripened chiles to give a very appetizing bright red color. If your color isn't bright enough, you can cheat by adding a red bell pepper. But the result will be less spicy.
I use habanero peppers for this recipe. The habanero is the spiciest peppers in the world. If you're afraid that it will be too spicy, you can find another red pepper that is more appropriate to your heat tolerance.
Both photographs were taken last October. My husband grew a variety of chiles. Those pictured are habaneros in the black (in red) and in the foregroung there are sun-dried scotch bonnets (in yellow). We just bought those cool Jiffy greenhouses and have planted our seeds for next season.