Garlic Chilli Hot Sauce (蒜蓉辣椒醬)

This condiment is a famous staple for all types of Chinese cuisine. The combination of flavours, fragrance, and spice serve to enhance all types of dishes. In this recipe, I use a mix of dried and fresh hot peppers, and aromatics. This version is a very traditional Cantonese-style garlic chilli hot sauce which delivers both spice and umami flavour. This is also a very simple recipe that relies on technique to bring out all of the different flavours in these ingredients.

This recipe was prepared by me, and photographed by my daughter, Vanessa.

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A few notes:

  • Please WEAR GLOVES when you prepare fresh chillies!
  • Try to cook this hot sauce outdoors — otherwise your house will be smelling like this sauce for a very very long time
  • Chopping can be done much quicker thanks to a food processor

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Prep Time 20-30 minutes

Cooking Time 1 hour 30 mins

Total Time 2 Hours

Yield Approximately 5x 250mL Mason Jars

Ingredients

Dried whole chilli peppers 250g
Fresh Thai red chilli peppers 20-25 peppers
Sichuan peppercorns, crushed 5 tbsp
Fresh garlic 2 heads
Shallots 6 heads
Salt 2 tbsp
Sugar 2 tbsp
Shao Xing Wine ¼ cup
Water 1 cup
Vegetable Oil 4-5 cups (more as needed)

Method

  1. Prepare all of your ingredients:
    • Roughly chop and dice shallots and garlic
    • Use a mortar and pestle to crush Sichuan peppercorns
    • Use a food processor to crush/chop dried whole chilli peppers — ensure you add one cup of water to rehydrate and let sit for 30 mins
    • Separately, use the food processor to chop fresh Thai red chillis

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2. Using a dry skillet, toast the Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant, then set aside.

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3. In the same skillet, add approximately 1/2 cup oil. Heat the oil over medium heat, and add chopped garlic and shallots to the pan, and saute until softened (approximately 15 minutes). Make sure you use medium heat, ensuring not to burn any of the aromatics.

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4. Add your toasted ground Sichuan peppercorns to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside.

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5. Using a large wok (or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven), add remaining amount of oil (approximately 4 to 4.5 cups). Use high heat to heat up the oil — once the oil has reached approximately 300F, turn it to medium heat. Again, you do not want to scorch any of the ingredients.

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6. Add your crushed dried whole chilli peppers to the wok. Use a spatula to stir, ensuring the oil has coated all of the crushed chillies. Simmer for 25-30 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring intermittently so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the wok. The colour of the chillies will darken slightly, and the mixture will thicken as the oil is absorbed into the chillies.

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7. Once the dried chillies have cooked thoroughly in the wok, you can add in your fresh Thai red chillies as well as the garlic and shallot mixture you have set aside from before. Stir well, and cook for another 10 minutes on low-medium heat.

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8. Add salt, sugar, and Shao Xing wine.

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9. Once salt, sugar, and wine has been added — stir well, and cook for 10 minutes. You want the alcohol to dissipate from the mixture, leaving great flavour behind.

10. When done, strain the mixture using a sieve to separate your cooked ingredients and the hot chilli oil. You can use the hot chilli oil on its own for many different uses, but we will mix it back into the sauce after we run the cooked ingredients through the food processor one more time.

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11. Use the food processor to blend your cooked chillies, garlic, and shallots to create a finer paste-like consistency.

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12. Return your blended ingredients back to the wok and cook again for 5 minutes.

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13. When complete, scoop hot sauce into individual jars and add hot chilli oil back into the jars.

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To preserve such a large batch of hot sauce, I highly recommend canning the extra jars of sauce to give away to family and friends, or to save for a rainy day!

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