I was told once by a Greek friend that the reason I cannot donate blood in Greece (long story on the why.) is because that my veins are filled with chilli sauce. I live on spicy food. I LOVE spicy food. And I add chilli sauce (or Tabasco, sliced chillies, dried chilli flakes, chilli oil – you catch my drift) on most savoury food that I eat. The brands/types of chilli sauces that I love are:
- The spicy yet sweet Lingham’s Chilli Sauce
- The ever yummy and close to my heart Malaysian Maggi Chilli Sauce,
- The Sriracha Rooster Chilli Sauce.
I usually have one, or 2, or all of them in my fridge so that I can satisfy my need for chilli. But sometimes, when they run out…. I replace it with sambal or I make my Asian groceries run (at the shops listed here) or (if I am not too tired and/or lazy) make my own. I store it in a jar, and usually use it within a few days (Oh, yes I do.) I’ve never kept it longer than a week, but I presume it’ll be ok up to 2 weeks.
These chilli sauces go really well with… umm.. everything! In sandwiches, with roasted meats and grilled sausages, with ramen noodles, with moussaka, pastitsio and other Greek foods that need spicing up and my favourites – with Cucur (Fritters), or Bergedel (Spiced Potato and Beef Patties).
I have adapted this from my several attempts to make homemade Maggi Chilli Sauce (because it’s very difficult to find here in Greece!). The gula melaka sugar I added here makes the colour a deeper red, and it helps the chilli sauce to last longer. You can use normal sugar, and brown sugar is a good substitute. If you are a vegetarian, replace the Fish Sauce with Soya Sauce, but really, the fish sauce adds a different umami umph to the chilli sauce. I usually use normal red chillies (normal sized ones) but you can also use the small Bird’s Eye chillies here, but halve the amount added because it packs a mighty punch. I usually de-seed half of the chillies, but you don’t have to if you are feeling daring. And wear gloves if you decide to! This is important – you’d be in a lot of pain if you accidentally rub your eyes.
Ingredients: (Serves 1 Airinie for a week.)
100g of red chillies, chopped. (halve it for Bird’s Eye chillies)
1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
4 small cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 tip of thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp of rice vinegar, and more to taste
2 tbsp of grated gula melaka sugar, and more to taste
1 tbsp of fish sauce (or soy sauce), and more to taste
1 tsp of vegetable oil
A pinch of salt
- In a pot, add the vegetable oil and gently sauté the onions and garlic. Do not brown it! Add a pinch of salt here to prevent it from burning.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and grated ginger and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the chillies, and simmer gently until they are soft and begin to melt and meld into the tomato. Add water if needed. It takes about 30 minutes, sometimes less. You can easily mash the chilli with the back of your spoon, then you know its ready.
- Take off the fire, and add the vinegar, grated sugar (or substitute) and fish/soya sauce.
- Let cool and then blitz until fine in a blender. (I don’t like to blend hot liquids)
- Return the sauce into the pan and heat it up again until it begins to thicken slightly. Taste here, and if you need to add more sugar, vinegar or fish sauce, do so here. It’s all up to taste, some people like their chilli sauce really sweet, some like it sour.
- Cool, and store in a jar or a bottle.
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