I do like sweet chilli sauce and with the chillies turning red in the greenhouse this is the time to make some.

The recipe I have found to be the most successful is one I found a couple of years ago from the Telegraph (google search):


One large jar


  • 6 large fresh red chillies, 3 of them deseeded, roughly chopped

  • 5 cm square piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • finely grated zest of 3 limes and juice of 2

  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 large bunch coriander, leaves only

  • 300g granulated sugar

  • 50ml Thai fish sauce

  • 120ml white wine vinegar


Puree the chillies, ginger, lime zest and juice, garlic and coriander in a food processor until you have a paste (you will need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides a few times).

Put the sugar into a heavy-based pan with 6 tbsp water and place over a medium heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until the syrup becomes a caramel (but don’t let it burn - you should know by the smell when turns to caramel). Stir in the paste, fish sauce and vinegar – stand well back as you do so as the mixture will hiss and spit – turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes. Leave to cool. Pour into a sterilized jar and seal with a vinegar-proof lid. When cool, put in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of months (though you’ll use it up much sooner).

The recipe does include what I find to be one of the most difficult tasks in cooking – judging when boiling sugar turns to caramel. It’s either not enough or oops it’s burnt. Getting the exact moment right I find nigh on impossible. Oh well, it’s still a good recipe.

Only problem is that the sauce doesn’t turn out red, more a browny colour with bit of the red chilli floating. What goes into the commercial bottles to get the bright red colour isn’t worth thinking about.

Incidentally, an excellent recipe for a pasta sauce is 6 parts Greek Yoghurt, 4 parts Sweet Chilli Sauce, and 2 parts Red Pasta.

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