Tangy Thai Sauce for Glaze, Marinade, or Dip

High Angle View Of Red Chili Peppers On Wooden Table
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  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1/3 cup sauce (serves 12)
Ratings (8)

This tangy Thai sauce recipe can be used as a marinade, glaze, side sauce, or dip. It's great as a glaze on chicken, pork, fish, shrimp and other shellfish, as well as tofu. It also makes an incredible marinade for grilling and dipping sauce for appetizers.

This sauce has a balance of sweet and sour, spicy and salty, as is typical of the best Thai cuisine. It infuses foods with loads of flavor without adding a lot of extra calories. If you would like to make the sauce vegetarian, instead of the fish sauce add 1 tablespoon Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce, or increase the soy sauce to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or another type of vinegar such as white, white wine, or apple cider)
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies (minced), or 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

How to Make It

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan or pot. Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cooks and become tangy—a mixture of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. (Depending what kind of vinegar you use, the smell as the vinegar burns off can be quite pungent, although rice vinegar is milder than other types).
  1. When the sauce has been reduced by 1/3, remove it from the heat. Taste-test the sauce and adjust it according to your liking. For a sweeter sauce, add a little more sugar. If it is not spicy enough, add more chili. If it's not salty or flavorful enough, add a splash more of fish sauce.
  2. You can use the sauce right away, or refrigerate it until it is needed. (It stores well in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.) 

Recipes Using Tangy Thai Sauce

Once you've tasted this sauce you will want to use it again and again! Here are some recipes that include this delicious tangy Thai sauce.