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Old 10-08-2011, 01:52 PM   #1
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ISO "secret ingredient" in Asian chili sauce?

I grow some different hot chilis and make my own chili sauces using just chilis, water, vinegar, salt and usually garlic. I really enjoy them because I get the unique flavor of the different type of chili used. However, some commercial Asian chili sauces have some flavoring that I REALLY like but simply cannot duplicate. The ingredients label often has the same ones I use, and then simply adds “spices.” I assume this would be the secret recipe part of the product. Does anyone know or have an idea of what extra “spices” the commercial Asian chili sauces might use? I'm ready to experiment.

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Old 10-08-2011, 04:12 PM   #2
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I think most use a touch of sugar. Not a lot, I mean a pinch When I add sugar to mine, it is only a tiny bit, and I prefer something with more depth of flavor rather than just plain sugar (brown, demera, honey, etc).

Many Asian, especially SEA have citrus instead of or in addition to vinegar.

Do you use plain distilled vinegar? Try rice vinegar if you do. It is more mellow and has more depth of flavor to go with your goal.
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:37 AM   #4
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I love Asian cooking, and have the joy of eating many potlucks with Sri Lankans and Thai people. I'll ask some of them next weekend at our get-together.

but I'm imagining that orange peel, or even a touch of Japanese Mirin might be nice.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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Are you referring to Sriracha type sauce? Sugar is an ingredient in many Asian chili sauces. But another thing to keep in mind is that many of these sauces are fermented, which adds another dimension to the complexity of flavor.

The good news is that it's not that difficult to make fermented hot sauce. I make several different hot sauces every fall, both fresh and fermented. The Sriracha style sauce that I make uses a mash of cayenne, red savina habeneros, ghost chiles, garlic, sugar, and salt. It's fermented for about 3-4 weeks before being pureed and cooked with vinegar (to pasteurize and acidify it sufficiently) before bottling. Like many other products, I think the homemade version is better than anything found at the grocer.
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Old 10-12-2011, 11:16 AM   #6
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Thai Chili Sauce - Thai Chili Sauce Recipe

Take a look at the "Secret Ingredients" in just this one authentic Thai Hot Pepper Paste...Nam Prik Pao. Lotsa ideas here, huh?
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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Could it be Umami? You can find it online and it's also called "Taste #5"
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:31 PM   #8
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Possibly palm sugar.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by lindatooo View Post
Could it be Umami? You can find it online and it's also called "Taste #5"
Umami isn't an ingredient, but rather a taste, like bitter, sweet, sour, and salty. It is the recognized flavor trait found in delicate amounts of soy sauce, mushrooms, MSG, and meat.

A secret flavor often found in Asian kitchens is Chinese 5 Spice powder. Other flavors include Oyster Sauce, Plumb Sauce, chili and pepper sauces, and fermented fish sauces.

The thing about Asian cooking is that flavors are blended to compliment each other, with none of the mix taking charge. Garlic, for instance, should enhance the other flavors of a recipe, but not be a recognizable flavor of its own. Fish sauce is rediculously foul, when a bottle is open and smelled. Yet, when used properly, it adds a wonderful flavor to various Asian recipes.

Check online for recipes that you may be trying to duplicate. You might find a recipe. Good luck in you search.

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