Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Copyright Darlene A. Schmidt
  • 17 mins
  • Prep: 2 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Makes 1/2 Cup
Ratings (107)

Thai sweet chili sauce is known as nam chim kai in Thailand. It is sold in bottles and available in Asian food markets, but instead of buying sweet chili sauce, try making this easy recipe. It only takes a few minutes to put together, and you can find everything you need in your pantry or at your local supermarket. There are no added preservatives or fatty ingredients in this homemade version, so it is also healthier. And since you control the ingredients, you also control the amount of sweetness and heat.

Thai sweet chili sauce makes a superb condiment for many Thai dishes and is excellent with chicken and fish as well as seafood. It is also wonderful as a marinade for grilling or as a dip for finger foods. Try it with grilled fish, classic Thai fish cakes, Thai crab cakes, chicken wings, Thai vegetarian egg rolls, and Thai spring rolls.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sherry (or cooking sherry)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp. dried crushed chili (1 tbsp. makes spicy-hot sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 to 4 tbsp. cool water

How to Make It

  1. Place all ingredients - except the cornstarch-water mixture - in a sauce pan or pot. Bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and let boil for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. (Note that the vinegar will be quite pungent as it burns off--rice vinegar is less strong than regular white vinegar.)
  3. Reduce heat to low and add the cornstarch-water mixture. Stir to incorporate and continue stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  1. Remove from heat and taste-test. You should taste sweet first, followed by sour, then spicy and salty notes. If the sauce isn't sweet enough, add a little more sugar. If not spicy enough, add more chili.
  2. Pour sauce into a small bowl or jar and serve as a condiment, dip or marinade.