July 31, 2022

Chinese Sweet Chili Sauce 甜辣醬

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬

We discovered this delicious sauce in during the zongzi madness at the end of May.  We made the oh so melt in the mouth Northern Taiwan Zongzi, an absolutely new experience for us in that all the ingredients are cooked and seasoned before finally assembling as a zongzi.  To go along with this zongzi we also made this Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce 甜辣醬 which ended up being a revelation in itself! 

This sweet chili sauce not only perfectly complemented our zongzi but also surprised us by its absolute deliciousness of taste: tangy, sweet and spicy all at once.  It is the perfect sauce to use as a dip for wontons, dumplings, potstickers, spring rolls, chicken wings, and noodles.

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬

One special ingredient is miso.  Miso is a paste made from salt fermented soybeans.  The miso that is most easily found is japanese miso, which most of you will know as the main ingredient in miso soup.  Miso paste is packed with flavor layers: salty with a touch of sweet, a touch of sour and a touch of bitter.  Unique in taste, this paste will definitely provide an umami explosion.

There is also a Chinese miso which is what we used in our sauce.  It's has a lovely flavor more on the sweet side.  The only place I have found it is at the local HK wet markets in little plastic bags (see the photo above).

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬

A peek inside the Chinese miso bag shows the fermented soy beans in a thick red paste.  Do try this Chinese miso if you get a chance, cuz it's really good.  We also use this miso paste smeared over when steaming fresh fish, oh yes, yummy!

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬

There are two types of sugar that are used in this sweet chili sauce.  One is Chinese malt sugar syrup 麥芽糖, a dense syrup that has a smooth 'malty' flavor profile.  It is a fantastic sugar syrup that is used in many Chinese desserts for the taste complexity it provides.

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬

The other sugar used in this sauce is another Chinese essential, the rock sugar 冰糖.  Rock sugar is sugar cane cooked until it just starts to take on color, then allowed to crystallize into irregular lumps.  Rock sugar is less sweet than regular sugar and has a clear pure taste.  It is also used for many Chinese desserts.

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬

We've laid the taste foundation with the umami of miso paste.  The two types of sugar provide a gentle and varied depth of sweetness.  The final two ingredients are the stars of the sauce.  The first is the humble condiment ketchup.  Everyone is familiar with the tomato-y vinegary gorgeousness of ketchup.  (Daggummit, that ol ketchup keeps on sneaking into Chinese cuisine!)

The second ingredient is another familiar condiment, sriracha.  Not so popular as ketchup but with a cult following amongst hot sauce fans.  The sriracha is a sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar.  Spicy sweet balanced by sour with a garlic kick.  Delicious!  

Let's finish this easy peasy to make sauce!  With a simple boil all these flavors come together to make this truly gorgeous, complex, tangy, spicy and sweet sauce.  Use this versatile sauce not only for dipping with zongzi but also for dipping with a bowl of noodles, wontons, potstickers, spring rolls, and the list goes on.  Definitely a sauce worth exploring... 

taiwan,Chinese,recipe, Sweet, Chili, Sauce,tangy,  甜辣醬
Chinese Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
Prep time: 1 min     Cook time: 5 mins



Add water, miso paste, rock sugar and malt sugar syrup into a small pot and cook over low heat until the rock sugar is melted.

Add in the ketchup and sriracha to the pot.  Turn to medium heat.  When the sauce boils, turn down to a simmer and let cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.  Let cool down and the sauce is ready to use.  Enjoy!



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