I’ve always loved, loved, loved Asian sweet chili sauce – it’s my favorite thing to top Chicken-Lime Lettuce Wraps, Stir-Fry Vegetables, grilled chicken, and well, much more as I’m sure you could guess. However, I’ve often felt a tad guilty because sugar is the first ingredient (hello, that’s probably why I like it!), so I wouldn’t buy it very often. But then I’d be missing it. Ugh – the thought processes of healthy eating, right?
The other day I was creating a new slow cooker recipe to share with you (using chicken and our frozen, unblanched green beans – stay tuned!) and I just wanted sweet chili sauce to add to the other Thai-like flavors I had going on (fish sauce and lime juice…). But of course I didn’t have any. I hit the internet and discovered how easy it is to make homemade sweet chili sauce – and to be in control of the sugar content. Score! I didn’t have any fresh chilies, so I adapted this recipe to use dried chili flakes and to be sweetened with only honey – and just 1/3 cup in the whole batch!
The result is still a spicy-sweet concoction, but now I can have it whenever I want – especially because it only takes about 5 minutes to make. Really! It’s a lot more inexpensive with the dried chilis, too. So, to recap: this homemade sweet chili sauce is quicker to make than buy, cheaper and able to make it healthier – that’s the kind of pantry basic recipe I love.
Note: some have asked where to get the dried chili flakes – Amazon (my affiliate links) has a good price here for McCormicks and this is a great price for 1 lb. of organic chili flakes. You can also find them at Costco and in smaller jars at regular grocery stores spice aisles.
- 1 TB. dried chili flakes*
- 3 tsp. minced garlic (about 3 lg. cloves)
- ¼ c. rice vinegar
- ⅓ c. honey
- ¾ c. + 2 TB water, divided
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 TB. potato starch (or organic cornstarch)**
- Add chili flakes, garlic, vinegar, honey, ¾ c. water, and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Boil for a minute at medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Mix the potato starch with the remaining water and add to the sauce, stirring over medium heat until thickened - about another minute or two.
- Remove from heat, cool thoroughly and transfer to a container to store in the fridge (the sauce keeps for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long...). Reused glass dressing bottles or canning jars both work well.
**Using a starch allows us to use a smaller amount of sugar, but still have a syrupy consistency (traditional sweet chili sauce uses only sugar- a lot - cooked down until syrupy)
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