Ming says: Chile pastes are the ketchup of the Asian table. As a kid, I would try to outdo my grandfather by slathering the Chinese version, la jaio, onto almost everything my mom served. (The Rice Krispies escaped.)
I take my inspiration for this garlicky, mouth-tingling version from Indonesia's sambal oelek (sambal means sauce; oelek refers to the chile content). You can buy it in jars, but the reason to make it is that your own is so much fresher tasting—and, of course, free of any unwanted additions, such as preservatives. I suggest you set this fiery condiment right on your table and enjoy it freely, as I do.
Be sure to wear kitchen gloves when you make sambal to protect your hands and eyes from stray chile heat.
Mix the sambal with ground beef to make a zestier meat loaf.
Add it to leftovers for a quick flavor boost.
Pep up Chinese and other takeout.... Read more.
In a medium saucepan, combine the jalapeños, Thai chiles, garlic, and oil and cook over low heat until the ingredients soften and blend, about 15 minutes.
Add the vinegar and cook until reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the sugar and salt.
Cool to room temperature.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to chop to a salsa-like texture.
Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar. Lasts 1 month, refrigerated.
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