torley manor

April 14, 2011

homemade chili garlic sauce

Filed under: Cooking,Garden & Homestead — emma @ 11:14 pm

Somehow, right around the end of the summer, we stocked up on sriracha, chili garlic sauce, and dried red pepper flakes (!) which means that I hadn’t really needed to use any of our home-grown, home-dried chilis. I’d envisioned crushing them and just using the flakes, but as we ran low on chili garlic sauce and did not run even remotely low on flakes, a plan was hatched! As I was picking stems off of the peppers, I only noticed two little chilis that looked a little funky. I couldn’t for the life of me tell, though, if they’d been dried by tying the stems or by threading a needle through them. Would have been nice to know. Next time!

So it turns out that store-bought chili garlic sauce has a lot of crummy ingredients in it, which I somehow never realized, and also we still have lots of our own garlic in addition to lots of dried peppers, so …..! Here we go! Our garlic is really holding up pretty well, too — a few sprouts here and there, but they’re holding steady!

My first quandary was about the peppers themselves — whether I should crush them first, and whiz everything together in a food processor and then cook the works, whether I should rehydrate the peppers and then chop them up, whether I should skip cooking the works, etc. I decided that I’d rehydrate the peppers in a small pot on the stove, with a bit of water. As I brought it to a boil, I:

a) maced myself and the household (sorry everybody.) and
b) realized I was out of rice vinegar.


So the new pepper method involved packing the peppers in water in a pint jar in the fridge to soak overnight, which seemed to work ok. I drained the peppers before putting them in the food processor and deliberated for a minute about saving the spicy water, but decided to ditch it, figuring that if I wanted something to be spicy, I’d probably want to use the chili garlic sauce, right? So I threw the peppers and about a head of peeled garlic into the food processor with some salt and rice vinegar (all totally eyeballed. If I had a kitchen scale and/or had thought this through at all, I would have weighed the peppers to at least have a starting point for recreating this). And then look what we have here! I’m just holding a jar of chili garlic sauce in my lap!

I’ll fix a meal with it soon and report back!


  1. Hey Em,

    When I make sauce like this, I let the dried peppers and the garlic cloves soak in the vinegar to rehydrate, then mush it all up together in the food processor. The garlic turns blue! Which is kinda fun. Also I make a whole bunch an once so we can start using it right away but the rest of it can still age.

    Comment by Katie — April 19, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  2. Oh, right on — I was having trouble finding recipes that involved dried peppers. I should have known that you’d have some ideas about this!

    Comment by emma — April 20, 2011 @ 9:37 am

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