Dish of Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili Garlic Sauce
  -   Nga Yoke Thee Achin
This all purpose Burmese table condiment will likely ruin you for bottled sauces - and it's so easy to make. It should be on the table for chili buffs, especially when you need to back off on recipe heat due to serving a group with mixed chili preferences. It's fine too for Thai and Lao - the three share borders and elements of each other's cuisines. I love this stuff as a dip for raw vegies, shrimp, smelts, meats, etc. - but, Tapatío is still better for tortilla chips. Recipe makes 1-3/4 cups.

Chili, dry red (1)
Garlic (2)
Sugar (3)
Fish Sauce (4)
Rice Vinegar (5)

Make   -   (15 min)
  1. Remove caps from Chilis, break in half and dump out seeds that fall freely - don't over-do it. I have had dried chilis so fresh I had to cut them lengthwise to get any seeds out.
  2. Peel GARLIC and chop coarse. Measure is after chopping.
  3. Place Chilis in a small pan with the 3/4 cup of water. Bring up to a simmer and simmer about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in Garlic for the last minute or so of simmering- but see Note-2.
  5. Stir in Sugar and pour it all into the bowl of your blender. A food processor will work too, unless the dried chilis are very fresh and leathery.
  6. Stir in Fish Sauce. Blend at highest speed or process as fine as your device will get it, scraping down the sides as needed.
  7. Pour in Rice Vinegar and blend a little more.
  8. Pour into a jar. It will keep several weeks in a sealed jar in the fridge. See also Comments.
  1. Dried Red Chili:   Select bright red dried chilis fresh enough to still have some flexibility. Most people will be satisfied with the common Japones, and that's what I use when setting it out for a general dip. If you want a bit hotter, de Arbols or Thai Chilis. Color will depend on how fresh and red the dried chilis are. The photo example was made with chilis so fresh they were still leathery. For details see our Chili Page.
  2. Garlic:   I use American garlic whenever possible. Chinese garlic tends to be old and dry by time it gets here. If that's what you have, add it to the chilis at start so it gets more cooking time.
  3. Sugar:   I prefer palm sugar, or a partially refined cane sugar like turbinado or Zulka Morena for better flavor.
  4. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. For details see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  5. Rice Vinegar:   Use an unseasoned rice vinegar. My favorite by far is Kong Yen Foods "Aged gourmet rice vinegar" from Taiwan.
  6. Comments:   This sauce is usable when first made, but it starts out a bit watery. The tiny particles of chili flesh continue to absorb liquid, so it will be thicker after some hours of rest.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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