As a teenager, I discovered the addictive powers of sweet chilli sauce. I don’t know if it was the chilli, or the sugar, but I ended up eating so much sweet chilli sauce, I was pouring it on everything! Many years later, I had an abundance of home grown chillies (hot & spicy Thai red chillies) so I made my own sweet chilli sauce. But it was so thick that we couldn’t pour it out of the bottle, and end up having to reheat it to remove the sauce. You see, during the cooking process, it didn’t seem to be thickening up like I expected, so I kept cooking it & cooking it until I pretty much made chilli toffee! Argh, fail. More recently, my young son has developed a fondness for sweet chilli sauce, so I set out to make my own recipe, with a much keener eye on timing required, and how to tell when it is starting to thicken!
Low FODMAP Sweet Chilli and Ginger Sauce
About 2 cups
- 250gm red chillies
- 2 tsp garlic infused olive oil (or 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed, if you do not require a low FODMAP version)
- 3cm piece of ginger root, peeled (about 1to 2 tbsp once finely grated)
- 1.5 cups white vinegar
- 1.5 cups raw organic sugar
- 5 kefir lime leaves
- 1 lemongrass stalk (about 1 tbsp once finely grated)
- Remove stems from chillies.
- If you prefer it to be less spicy, remove the seed and white pith from the majority of your chillies (leave some seed in, for appearances). Slice open one side of the chillies, then carefully running a small spoon along to dislodge the seed and pith. Wear gloves, wear glasses, do not wipe your eyes, your nose, or go to the toilet without washing your hands first!
- Finely dice the chillies (seed in or out), or chop finely in a food processor
- Finely grate the ginger and lemongrass (if using), using a 2mm kitchen rasp/ microplane
- In a large microwave proof glass jug or bowl, or in a large saucepan, combine the chopped chillies, the garlic oil (or crushed garlic), grated ginger and lemongrass, vinegar and sugar, along with the whole kefir lime leaves (if using).
- Whisk or stir to combine, and make sure the sugar isn’t stuck in a big lump.
- For the stovetop version, heat over high heat, stirring every few minutes, until it starts to boil. Reduce to medium heat, and cook for about 35 to 45 minutes until it starts to thicken, stirring frequently.
- For the microwave version, cook on high in 10 minutes time intervals, stirring in between each, until mixture starts to thicken, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Test to see if the sauce is starting to thicken up enough, by putting a spoonful onto a plate, and tip the plate slightly. If the sauce runs straight across the plate, it needs more cooking time. If it slowly meanders, it has started to thicken, and it will set more as it cools down. If you want a pouring sauce, stop cooking it at this point. If you want a spooning ‘jam’, continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes. If you want toffee, keep cooking indefinitely.
- Remove kefir lime leaves, if you used them.
- If you intend to keep this in the fridge and eat within a couple of weeks, you can now pour the hot sauce into hot, clean jars or bottles. Allow to cool enough to seal with the lid, and transfer to the fridge.
If you want to bottle and store this sauce in the pantry, or give as gifts, please refer to my instructions on boiling water bath processing. Please note I have tested the pH of this recipe by litmus paper only. The amount of high acid vinegar to low acid chillies makes this sauce ‘high acid’ (with a low enough pH, below 4.6 to be safely boiling water bathed). If you are looking for a similar recipe by a food safety authority, check out the Ball/ Fresh Preserving Singapore Chilli Sauce.
- If you do accidently overcook the sauce, and it becomes very thick once cooled down, you may be able to ‘rescue it’ by adding equal parts of water and vinegar (start with 1/4 cup of each), then reheat it gently, mixing the extra liquid in.
- You might also like my Green Chilli and Lime Sauce recipe.
- Learn more about a Low FODMAP way of eating here