This is one of a handful of low sodium sauces I always have in the refrigerator (or freezer). It's a substitute for the popular Huy Fong chili garlic sauce you can buy, or the sauce you often see on tables at Vietnamese restaurants and it has less than 5 mg of sodium per serving. There are so many types of chili peppers and so many ways you can modify this recipe to adjust the heat and flavor. It's a sauce that's meant to stand on its own, but it's also a great addition to marinades, sauces, or dressings. This recipe uses red Fresno chilis, which are similar to jalapeños (if I could find red jalapeños, I would use them instead). I have another garlic chili sauce I make using green Thai chilies. It's similar but this one is just a touch sweeter. Try them both or use whatever peppers you have to make your own version!
Servings: Makes just over a cup Sodium: 1 mg per tablespoon Time: 20 minutes
1/2 pound Fresno chilies (about 10)
2 ounces sweet red bell peppers, chopped
6 cloves garlic, plus 5 cloves, divided
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1) Peel and smash garlic. Wash and cut all peppers in half. I leave the seeds in but you can remove some or all of them. Heat a large skillet with a thin layer of cooking oil. When the skillet gets very hot, add all the spicy and sweet peppers and 6 cloves of garlic and cook for just 1-3 minutes, until the peppers and garlic develop a char.
The next step is to add all remaining ingredients and blend until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. I like to use my immersion blender whenever I can because it's easy to clean up, so I had to chop up the peppers a bit more and then put the chopped peppers in a large measuring cup to blend. This step is probably easier in a standard blender or small food processor because you can just pour everything into the blender/food processor and you're done. But then there's a bigger mess, so you decide. Either way, don't get too close to the peppers while you're blending them because this sauce is pretty spicy. Allow the sauce to cool and store refrigerated for up to a month. You can also freeze this sauce for at least a month.
If you want something more mild, adjust the ratio of sweet to spicy peppers. I've got it at about a 1:4 ratio of sweet to spicy with all the seeds left intact and this makes a pretty spicy sauce. If you want something more mild, go with a 1:1 ratio (5 ounces spicy, 5 ounces sweet). You can also add a sweet onion to this mix for a more mild flavor, but the onion will really dilute the color of the sauce.