Makes about 1½ cups sauce
Note:This sauce is best prepared at least one or two days before using. Cane vinegar and palm sugar can be found at select well-stocked cooking stores, as well as Asian markets.
Capsaicin is found in the inner ribs, or veins, of chilies, not just the seeds. To minimize the heat, remove the ribs with the seeds. And when working with chilies, be careful. The capsaicin in the oils can burn your hands and eyes. Wear gloves when handling the hottest chilies, and work in a well-ventilated area.
1 pound mixed fresh red chilies (such as red Fresnos or jalapeños), stemmed and chopped
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2 to 4 cloves garlic
¼ cup cane or rice vinegar
1½ teaspoons sea salt, more if desired
2 tablespoons palm or light brown sugar, more if desired
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the chilies, garlic, vinegar, salt and sugar to form a coarse paste.
2. Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the aroma softens or mellows a bit, about five minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Blend the sauce again to form a smooth paste, thinning as desired with water.
4. Strain the sauce, pressing the solids through a fine mesh strainer with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Taste the sauce, and tweak the flavors as desired with additional salt, sugar or vinegar. Remove the sauce to a glass jar or bottle and cool completely. Refrigerate until needed.
Nutritional information for each tablespoon: 13 calories; 0 protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 133 mg sodium.
From Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times