Chilies in Escabeche (for beans and tacos)

10 JALAPEÑO CHILES
1/4 CUP SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL
2 MEDIUM CARROTS, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1/4 CUP THINLY SLICED WHITE ONION
2 GARLIC CLOVES, smashed with the side of a knife
3/4 CUP WHITE VINEGAR
1 BAY LEAF
1 TEASPOON DRIED MEXICAN OREGANO
5 PEPPERCORNS
1 TEASPOON COARSE SALT
2 TEASPOONS SUGAR

Cut a slit down the length of each chile, leaving the stem intact.

In a medium, heavy skillet over high heat, warm the safflower oil. Add the chiles and stir-fry until the skins are evenly blistered all over and they turn from bright green to dull green, about 8 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, bay leaf, oregano, peppercorns, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chiles and other vegetables from the skillet and pack into a sterilized 1-pint mason jar. They should be packed tightly all the way to the top. Pour in the vinegar to cover all the vegetables. Let cool and then refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Salsa Arriera

20 whole serrano peppers (or 10 Serrano del Sol)
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons water, cold
Salt, to taste

Toast the chiles on a medium-hot comal or griddle, turning them from time to time until they are blistered and charred.

While they are still hot, grind them with the rest of the ingredients to a rough paste in a molcajete or in a blender.

Salsa de Tijera

1/2 ts Salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Red wine vinegar
8 Chiles anchos
1/4 cup Queso fresco; crumbled
1 Onion
4 Garlic cloves; small

Toast chiles lightly, turning constantly so not to burn them. When cool, remove veins and seeds.

Cut chiles into small pieces and chop onion and garlic finely.

Mix chiles, onion, and garlic with oil, vinegar and salt. Let stand for approx 2 hrs.

To serve sprinkle with cheese.

(NOTE: This is sometimes called Salsa de tijera (scissors sauce) since the chiles are usually cut into thin strips with scissors. When chiles pasilla are used the sauce is called Salsa de moscas. Salsa de los reyes has three chiles ­ mulato, ancho, and pasilla. Good sauce for barbequed meats…)

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)
1/3 cup honey, or to taste
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Place cranberries and honey in a food processor. Pulse until chopped (but not too finely), then taste and stir in more honey if needed. At this point, the relish can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving. If the liquid separates, give it a stir.

Stir pistachios and pomegranate seeds into cranberry mixture and serve.

Tuk Trey (Cambodian Chili Sauce)

4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 red hot peppers, chopped
3 teaspoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 limes, squeezed
7 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons water

In a mortar, pound the garlic, peppers, lime juice, sugar and water with a pestle to obtain a paste.

Add the fish sauce and mix. Add the peanuts and mix well.

Recipe Notes
There are many variations of this sauce. You can adjust the ingredients according to your taste: – By adding more fish sauce if you want it to be salty, or more water for the opposite. – By adding more sugar if you prefer it sweeter. – By adding more lemon juice if you want to accentuate the sour side.

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.

Nuoc Cham

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

Optional additions

1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

Make limeade. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and as yourself this question: Does this limeade taste good? Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

Finish with fish sauce. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Aim for a bold, forward finish — perhaps a little stronger than what you’d normally like. This sauce is likely to be used to add final flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, which are not salted and therefore need a little lift to heighten the overall eating experience. My mother looks for color to gauge her dipping sauce. When it’s a light honey or amber, she knows she’s close.
Notes

Advance Preparation – This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.

Variation – Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce. Some delicately flavored dishes require this.

courses sauce

Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Gung)

Chubby 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 or 3 limes)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lime juice, and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust the flavors with more lime sugar or sugar as needed. The ginger and lime should both be prominent, but not to the point that they make you wince and pucker. Add the fish sauce, starting out with 2 tablespoons and adding more as your palate
dictates. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the ginger bloom before serving.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems and roots
2 cups water
3 to 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
4 ounces Fresno chiles, mostly seeded and coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
About 2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/3 cups sugar

Put the cilantro stems and water into a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover. Let steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, use an electric mini chopper to grind the garlic, chiles, and salt to a coarse texture. Set aside.

Strain the cilantro liquid through a mesh strainer. Measure the liquid. You should have about 1 3/4 cups. Transfer to a saucepan. Add the same quantity of vinegar as you had of the cilantro liquid. Add the sugar and chiles and garlic mixture. Stir.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to simmer. Let simmer until the volume has reduced by half. (How much time this takes depends on the size of your saucepan. Use a shallow, wide pan to hasten the process.) The resulting sauce should be slightly thick.

Remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered, to cool completely. Expect the sauce to thicken further and concentrate in flavor.

Vietnamese Chile Sauce (Tuong Ot)

1 large clove garlic
1 medium (3 to 4 ounc) Roma tomato
6 ounces Fresno or other kinds of moderately-hot chiles
Brimming 1?2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar, preferably organic
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1?2 cup water, plus more as needed

Coarsely chop the garlic and tomato. Transfer to a 11?2-quart (1.5 l) saucepan, including the tomato juices and seeds.

Stem and quarter the chiles lengthwise. Because you want a moderate amount of heat, seed half of the chile pieces, reserving those unwanted parts in case the chiles are wimpy.
With the skin side facing up, coarsely cut all of the chiles crosswise into pieces the size of your thumbnail. Use one of the leftover stem pieces and your knife to usher them into the pan.

Add the salt, sugar, vinegar, and water. Bring to a brisk simmer over medium heat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chiles have softened. Taste midway. If it’s too mild, add some of the reserved chile seeds and spongy placenta to the pan.

When done, slide to a cool burner, let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, then puree in a blender. Expect skin bits and seeds to remain.
Pass through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the mixture with a spatula; discard the solids.

Allow to cool and concentrate, uncovered, for about 1 hour before tasting and tweaking.

If needed, add salt by the pinch, sugar by the 1?4 teaspoon, vinegar by the 1?2 teaspoon, or water by the tablespoon.

Notes:
Texturally, the sauce should resemble a pourable sriracha. The flavor should be pleasantly sweet and spicy. You will want to eat the chile sauce by the spoonful but know that you should not.

Organic cane sugar perfectly balances and brightens the chile heat without being cloying. As an experiment, substitute 1/2 ounce yellow Chinese rock sugar, which you may already have for preparing pho broth. If the chile sauce has too many rough edges, round them out with a touch of maple syrup. If refined sugar isn’t for you, substitute 2 tablespoons of maple syrup for the sugar below.

When Fresno chiles aren’t available, or if they’re just not very hot, try red or green jalapeño. Consider combining different kinds of chiles, too.

Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months. Enjoy at room temperature.

Sweet and Tangy Thai Dipping Sauce

10-15 dried whole red hot chillies
4-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
3 or more tbsp fish sauce (nahm bplah), to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, to desired sweetness
A few cilantro leaves and/or a 1-inch section of green onion, chopped (optional)

Cut the stem tip off the dried chillies and place in a bowl. Add tap water to cover. Soak until softened (about 1/2 to 1 hour) and then chop.

Reduce the garlic with a mortar and pestle to a paste.

Add the chopped softened chillies. Pound well to blend.

Then add the vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Stir well to dissolve sugar.

Adjust flavors so that the sauce has the blending of salty, sweet and sour taste to your liking. Let sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to blend and mingle.

Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and/or green onion if you wish.

Note: Sauce may be made a day or more ahead of time- it keeps up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Thai chile, stemmed and minced

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1?2 cup water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the vinegar, ketchup, garlic, and chile, and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool completely before serving. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Thai Cucumber Salad (Ajat)

1/3 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup cucumber, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh Thai chili peppers, chopped
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, ground
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves for garnish

In a small mixing bowl, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix very well until sugar and salt are dissolved.

Add cucumber, ground peanut and hot pepper.

Mix well.

Top with coriander leaves.

Burmese Tomato Salad

250 grams tomatoes (approx. 2-3 medium), cut into bite size chunks
1 shallot, medium, thinly sliced
20 grams garlic, peeled
5 grams green chilis (Thai bird chilis), roughly chopped
15 grams roasted peanuts (Planters work just fine), coarsely crushed. Choose your weapon to crush: mortar and pestle, rolling pin, can of soup.
1-2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced into hair-like shreds
1 handful cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan), toasted. Easily found in Indian stores, Asian stores, or other specialty stores.
2 tablespoons “tep say an lien” or crisp-fried, seasoned tiny shrimp (easily found in Asian stores in the ready to eat snacks aisle)
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
pinches kosher salt to taste

Begin by toasting 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour in a cast iron pan or skillet set on medium heat. Keep stirring every 2 minutes or so. At the 7-8 minute mark, it’ll start to change color and your nose will start to pick up a wonderful, nutty aroma. At this point, stir every 30 seconds or so for an additional 3-4 minutes, until it resembles the color of finely powdered graham crackers. Remove pan off the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and use any extra in Burmese-style vegetable salads or as a thickener/base in soups and curries.

Next, put garlic and green chilis in a blender and pulse a couple of times to get a chunky mix with easily distinguishable pieces of garlic and chili; at no point should it become a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok and cook the garlic-chili blend in it until it turns an even golden brown.
Carefully remove the fried garlic-chili blend gently pressing against the side of the wok as you do, so as to leave most of the oil in the wok. Wait for the wok to cool down a bit.

Next, add a 1/2 tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour into the residual oil in the wok and stir it in to instantly form an emulsified dressing of sort. Follow with tomatoes, shallot, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro and give it a good mix. At this point, you can stick it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to eat.

This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Remember to salt only when ready to eat. After salting, garnish with fried garlic-chili blend, crushed peanuts, and crisp-fried dried shrimp.

Jeow Bong (Luang Prabang Chili Sauce)

3 large heads of garlic (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup shallots
1 thumb-size piece of galangal chopped into small pieces
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
1 – 2 tablespoons dark red, roasted chilli flakes
2 teaspoons palm sugar
Water or fish sauce to thin, if needed

Roast or grill the garlic and shallots until cooked through. Meanwhile, in a mortar pound the galangal.

Peel the garlic cloves and shallots, add to the mortar along with the salt and pound to a paste. Stir in the chilli flakes. Add the sugar and pound to mix. Taste and add water, fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarians) or more chilli flakes.

Transfer the mixture to a small frying pan and dry fry on a very low heat for 10 minutes until rich, dark and aromatic. The flavour develops over time.