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Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce

by Heather Thomas from The Hot Sauce Cookbook

Learn to make your own Thai-style Sweet Chilli Sauce with the perfect balance of sweet, sharp and spicy flavours and great for serving with Thai-inspired starters.

From the book


It’s fun to make your own sweet chilli sauce at home, and it’s surprisingly quick and easy to do, too. It should be stored in a screwtop jar, but sterilize it first by washing it out thoroughly and rinsing it well, then place on the shelf of a preheated oven set to 140°C, 275°F, gas mark 1 and leave for 20–30 minutes until dry.

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5 long fresh red chillies, halved
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
4 tbsp water
200g/7oz (scant 1 cup) white sugar
100ml/3½fl oz (generous ⅓ cup) rice vinegar
3 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)

Essential kit

You will need: a blender or food chopper.


1. Put the chillies, garlic, ginger, lime zest and juice in a blender or food chopper and blitz to a thick paste.

2. Put the water and sugar in a deep, heavy-based saucepan and set over a low to medium heat. Stir gently until all the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and boil until the syrup starts to change colour and turn golden evenly all over. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!

3. As soon as it starts to change colour and smell like caramel, quickly add the vinegar, nam pla and the chilli and garlic mixture – don’t stand too close to the pan as it will spit – then reduce the heat.

4. Simmer gently for 4–5 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little. If you want the sauce thicker, simmer it for a little longer.

5. Pour the sauce into a 300ml/½ pint sterilized airtight jar, cover with a wax disc and screw on the lid. Store for up to 2 months in a cool dry place or keep in the fridge.


– If you want a milder-tasting sauce, deseed a couple of the chillies before chopping.

– If you like really intense heat, use extra hot chillies and add a pinch of dried crushed chilli flakes or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper.


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From the book: The Hot Sauce Cookbook

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