Hmong Chili Sauce

Makes about 1 cup. Serve with grilled meats (especially lemongrass pork.)

18 small or 9 medium Thai chiles, stemmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped scallion, green part only
1/2 lightly packed cup chopped cilantro
1 cup quartered ripe cherry tomato
Lime juice

1. Put the chiles, salt, and fish sauce into a mortar. With a circular motion of the pestle, crush the ingredients against the sides of the mortar into a rough mixture.

2. Add the scallion and cilantro, and switch to an up and down pounding motion with the pestle to combine the flavors well and reduce the mixture to a damp, rough mixture. Add the cherry tomatoes and lightly pound to combine. Taste and add lime juice as needed for a tart bite. Transfer to a small dish and serve.

Vietnamese Satay Sauce

25 g garlic (3 large cloves), coarsely chopped
30 g shallots (1 large shallot), coarsely chopped
80 g lemon grass (4 medium stalks), coarsely chopped
About 1 cup peanut oil
8 g fresh Thai bird chilis, minced
30 g crushed red thai chilis, the dry red ones about 3-4″ long
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp. MSG (optional)
3 to 4 Tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce (optional, use for brighter color and extra heat)

Food process the garlic, shallots and lemon grass separately. (An electric mini-chopper works very well for this task.) Get the garlicand shallots to a fine mince, and the lemon grass well processed, but not to powder.

Put 14 tablespoons (that’s 1 cup less 2 tablespoons) oil in a small saucepan and add garlic. Heat over medium low and after the mixture starts bubbling and making sizzling sounds, lower the heat to the low. Let fry on low, low heat for 5
minutes.

Add the shallot and keep frying on low heat for 10 minutes more. It should gently sizzle without browning.

Add the lemongrass and let fry on low for another 10-15 minutes, until the lemongrass is fragrant, toasty, and has sunken into the oil.

Add the minced fresh chiles and fry for 5 minutes to release their oil and turn the mixture pale orange.

Add the crushed red pepper and fry for 5-10 minutes, until there’s a nutty, spicy smelling heat.

Stir in the Sriracha to achieve the desired color — orange red. About 3 to 4 tablespoons should do it. Then stir in the fish sauce, sugar, salt, and MSG. Adjust the heat to lightly bubble and let cook 1 or 2 minutes longer.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust with a little more sugar to tame the heat, fish sauce or salt for savoriness, or a bit more Sriracha for extra heat. If you add sugar, warm up the mixture and stir it to dissolve the sugar. There should be a layer of oil floating on top to cover. If not, add more oil as needed to barely
cover the top.

For a smoother texture, use a stick blender or food processor to grind the mixture finely. Allow to cool completely before transferring to a jar. Store at room temperature for daily use or in the refrigerator for infrequent use and longer keeping

Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot Toi – Raw Version)

6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Put all the ingredients in an electric mini chopper or food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Take a whiff and it should make you sweat a bit. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar. Transfer to a small jar and refrigerate. Let stand at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to blend. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Note: if your concoction is too hot, add some bell pepper to tone it down. You can also mitigate the heat with sugar, salt and/or vinegar.

Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot Toi – Cooked Version)

6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Put all the ingredients in an electric mini-chopper or food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Take a whiff and it should make you sweat a bit. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar.

Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to a vigorous simmer over medium heat, lower the heat to gently simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it no longer smells raw. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Makes a scant 2/3 cup.

Singapore Chili Sauce

2 or 3 large red chiles, such as Fresno, cayenne, or long chile, coarsely chopped
2 or 3 hot Thai chiles, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon hot chicken poaching broth

Put all of the ingredients into a small electric mini chopper and process to a semi-coarse sauce. Transfer to a dipping sauce dish.