I’m not some nutjob you know. I do, on occasion, buy preprepared foods. Frozen stuff. And stuff in bottles. That kind of thing. We don’t eat a lot of it, mainly because I don’t like how it tastes.
But there are certain things that just aren’t worth the pain of making. Things like toast.
Just kidding. Springrolls, however are a perfect example of something that isn’t worth making yourself unless you have 700 hours on your hands and get extreme joy out of swearing until your nose drips.
So I always buy my store’s brand of vegetarian spring rolls. They’re great. Completely loaded with grease. Even when I bake them in the oven, the grease is just spilling out of them. Gotta love that. I also always (used to) buy the Thai dipping sauce in a bottle that compliments these delicious frozen spring rolls.
Making your own Sweet Thai Chili Dipping sauce was for crazy people. I knew I’d never be able to make it taste as good as the stuff in the bottle, so why bother? It’s the same reason I always buy bottled peanut sauce. I’ve never been able to duplicate it. My peanut sauce always ends up tasting like a peanut butter cup without the chocolate.
And then a few weeks ago I had a moment of extreme crazy. Or perhaps it was lucidity. It’s hard for me to tell nowadays. I WAS GOING TO MAKE THAI CHILI SAUCE. Now, being the way that I am, I didn’t just randomly pick a recipe from the Internet. I randomly picked 7 recipes from the Internet, plus Gordon Ramsay’s recipe from his Fast Food cookbook. (the night after my thai chili sauce experiment I dreamt Gordon and I were best friends and we went to see a grade 5 school play together)
I prepared 3 of the recipes and compared 2 of the techniques. What I came up with is a chili sauce that’s really easy to make and has about equal parts sweet and heat. So if you don’t like heat … cut down on the chili peppers in the recipe, or omit the seeds. I included the seeds for a ridiculously stupid reason. I like how they look floating in the sauce.
Speaking of chili peppers, you can use either red Jalapeno peppers or red Serrano peppers. Red Jalapenos would be my number one choice, but I find red Jalapenos reallyyyy difficult to find sometimes, so if you can’t find them just go with the Serranos. The big fat one in the picture is a Jalapeno pepper by the way, and the long skinny ones are Serranos.
2 cloves garlic
2 red Jalapeno or 2 red Serrano peppers
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
cornstarch slurry (1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsps. water)
1. Throw everything but the cornstarch slurry into a blender. No need to chop the garlic or peppers. However, if you want less heat deseed your peppers and cut the veins out.
2. Blend until garlic is chopped up and peppers are in small pieces.
3. Dump it all into a sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the peppers and garlic are soft.
4. Add your cornstarch slurry. Cook another few minutes at a simmer.
5. Jar it up and don’t even taste it for a few days. If you taste it right now it will burn your tongue off and send you home crying.
This type of sauce mellows as it ages (much like my Caesar Salad dressing) so make it in advance. It’ll last for over a month in your fridge so don’t worry about it going bad. The longer it sits the less heat it will have. I made mine on a Friday and it was blindingly hot. So hot I thought it might be a mistake. But I left it to see how it fared after a few days. It was perfect. Also don’t be alarmed when you taste it off your finger or a spoon. It’s going to taste MUCH hotter that way than it will on food.
Having said all that, if you really don’t like hot food make sure you deseed and devein the pepper and only use one as opposed to two of them. Sissy. The sauce is perfect for dipping spring rolls into as well as marinating chicken or even using as a chicken finger dipping sauce. Yeah. I still like chicken fingers. Who doesn’t? They’re delicious, especially with a good dipping sauce.
Mind you, with this dipping sauce any fingers would taste good in it.
A final warning. This sauce is HOT. You can adjust the heat to suit your tastes. Deseed your peppers, or just use one pepper, or just use one pepper AND deseed it. Whatever you want. If you think it’s too sweet, only add 1/2 cup of sugar. If you want it sweeter … add more. You get the idea. Finally, just for fun, you can add a squeeze of lime juice at the end.
Speaking of the end … The End.