With an endless variety of chilli sauces on the market, it’s understandable to ask the question ‘why bother making my own?’ It’s a perfectly reasonable question. There are a lot of really good chilli sauces out there that don’t cost much more than a pound to buy, which is cheaper than buying the ingredients and doing it yourself. So, the reason for making your own chilli sauce, for the most part at least, is because you have the passion to do so. I made this chilli sauce, not because I couldn’t find one I liked, but because I really wanted to make this one. I also wanted to see how mine would hold up against the store-bought options.
As it turns out, I really like my chilli sauce recipe. It is hot without being overly so, and has a deliciously dense, fruity background flavour. Roasting the chilies, tomatoes, garlic and onions first really helps with the flavour. I’m sharing it with you here in the hope that you will also try it, and like it as much as I do. I will still be buying ready-made chilli sauces, just because it’s more convenient, but I will also be making this from time to time.
This is quite a large batch, but I recommend making it all and freezing half of it. It’ll last about 2 weeks in the fridge, so it is better to freeze what you think you’re not going to use in that time. You could always portion it into 100ml batches and freeze them separately, or even use an ice cube tray.
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes, plus cooling time.
12 medium red chillies, stalks removed and cut in half (no need to deseed them)
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and kept hole
6 medium tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil
Large handful coriander leaves
Juice of 2 limes
100ml white wine or cider vinegar (I used white wine)
300ml red grape juice
145g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 ½ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F.
Put the chillies, onions, garlic and tomatoes into a mixing bowl and add the sesame and olive oils. Mix well and then spread the lot out onto a baking tray. Roast in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, or until the chillies have just started to blacken around the edges.
When they are done, allow them to cool slightly, then tip them into a blender. Add the coriander, lime juice and vinegar and puree twice, until completely smooth.
Tip the resulting liquid into a saucepan and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. Add a little more salt if you need to, then pass the mixture through a sieve and into a bowl. The resulting thin liquid will trickle out into the bowl beneath the sieve. I found it helpful to use a large serving spoon to press the pulp into the sieve and get as much of the chilli sauce out as possible. When you are done, discard the pulp and allow the chilli sauce to completely cool. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or freeze in batches as mentioned above.