Here comes an easy recipe for a mind-blowingly good sugar-free sweet chili sauce! This quick-to-make hot sauce is actually sour as well, thanks to the super-healthy apple cider vinegar. Delicate sweetness comes from my favorite brown sugar substitute and fresh chili peppers ensure the tongue-tickling (or explosively fiery, your choice!) heat. You can use the sauce immediately after letting it cool down, or let it ferment for two weeks when the flavors get deeper and even better!
Use this delicious condiment with meat and poultry, or try it with rich and creamy veggie dishes. Cauliflower gratin and sugar-free sweet chili sauce, anyone? Believe me, it’s a must-try combination!
Tips for making the sugar-free sweet chili sauce
Making the sauce is easy, but there are a few things to take into account which ensure the successful result:
- Reduce the heat of the sauce by removing the seeds and the membranes from the chili peppers; if you want fiery sauce, leave the seeds and membranes.
- Add more water if there is not enough fluid left after cooking.
- Remember to ventilate properly when cooking the sauce!
- If you plan to let the sauce ferment and mature for two weeks, fill a boiling-hot, sterilized glass jar with the freshly-made sauce and close tightly with lid. (Or if you know a better technique, use that!)
- The recipe makes close to one cup sauce, so feel free to double the batch if you want to make a bigger batch.
But let’s check how to make this fantastically fiery sauce:
Take 6 oz (170 g) beautiful, fresh chili peppers. (Aren’t they just gorgeous!)
Actually, why not take the rest of the ingredients as well, you’ll need them soon. Can you imagine, these 5 ingredients are all you need to make this tasty and beautiful sauce:
But first, chop the chili peppers roughly.
Just throw the chopped chiles in a small saucepan. (Remember to wash your hands properly immediately after this!)
Be prepared to add the rest of the ingredients. Here goes the ACV…
…and the salt.
Mix well. Heat over high heat and reduce to low once the mixture starts to boil.
Cover with lid and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the chiles are soft…
…so when they look like this:
Use immersion blender (or regular blender if you don’t have any) and puree the sauce until smooth…
Yummy fiery goodness!
Let cool down and use; or fill a well-cleaned, steaming hot glass jar with the sauce.
It might get messy, though.
There we go! Just close the lid tightly, let cool down to room temperature and place in the fridge for two weeks.
The matured sauce (in the front) is slightly darker in color than the freshly made sauce:
My experiments with the sugar-free chili sauce
I’m a huge fan of sriracha sauce. Unfortunately it contains sugar and some preservatives. Well, usually you use just a couple of spoonfuls, so the final carb-count doesn’t get too high. In any case, I have wanted to develop my own, guaranteed-healthy hot chili sauce recipe for a long time. I love sweetness combined with fiery flavors, so I was planning to experiment with hot and sweet sauce that would be perfect with almost any dish. And since I wanted to make sugar-free chili sauce that is low in carbs, I had to think of an appropriate sweetener as well.
I wanted to use also vinegar, however I was a bit hesitant: in my opinion Tabasco is otherwise great sauce, but the amount of vinegar is just too much for me. In reality, the whole sauce tastes just vinegar. Hot, spicy vinegar. No way, I wanted to have some more dimensions in my hot sauce.
I have a German cookbook about hot sauces, it’s called “Feurig Scharfe Saucen!“. That was my help in ideation of my own creation. Most of the recipes in that book contain far over 5 ingredients, so my version would be containing just the essential ingredients and nothing more — naturally without sacrificing anything taste-wise.
On page 80 in that book there is a recipe for Louisiana Hot Pepper Sauce that has just three ingredients: dried chili peppers, vinegar and salt. Something like that I had been thinking for my own sauce, too. Well, I didn’t have dried chili peppers and I didn’t know any place where to buy some, so I decided to use fresh chiles. The vinegar in the recipe was white wine vinegar, but I opted to go for apple cider vinegar: the taste was fruitier and milder. Like said, I’m not too much of a friend of vinegar, so the milder taste the better for my taste buds.
As salt I naturally used unrefined sea salt, though Himalayan salt would work well, too. And since I wanted my sauce to be sweet as well, I took my favorite brown sugar substitute Sukrin Gold and decided to add a good amount of that. The sweetener is really good and it behaves just like brown sugar, it even tastes and looks like brown sugar! Oh yes, I just love that stuff!
I thought a sauce with just chili peppers, salt, sweetener and vinegar would have been too plain and lacking something, so I decided to add my favorite seasoning: great-quality onion powder. I really tend to add onion powder to almost any dish… it just enhances the flavors in the most pleasant way. And I’m simply too lazy to chop onions… so onion powder is a perfect option for a lazy — or busy — person.
So, it was time to take a saucepan and think of the measures. I had made some chili sauce experiments long time ago, and I wasn’t satisfied. But now, it was time to try to make something better. For my first experiment I took 6 oz (170 g) red chili peppers. There was no exact planning behind that amount, I just thought 6 ounces is exactly 170 grams and perfect for both American and metric units. Again, using my gut feeling I took 1/3 cup (80 ml) apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup (60 ml) Sukrin Gold, 1 teaspoon (my standard measure) onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt.
I chopped the chili peppers roughly and put all ingredients in a saucepan. I heated the mixture in high heat, covered it with lid and reduced the heat close to minimum. It took some 15 minutes before the chili peppers were soft. Now I just had to puree the whole thing somehow. Luckily immersion blender is a quick and easy way to puree anything and a smooth sauce (with some seeds, though) was ready in less than a minute. Boy, it tasted good!
I also tried fermenting the sauce. I didn’t check any sources how to actually do the fermenting, but just decided to use my (almost non-)existing skills about preserving and filled one cleaned, boiling-hot glass jar with the hot sauce, closed the lid tightly, let it cool down and finally put it in the fridge. After two weeks the color was slightly darker, and the taste was deeper and somehow not that hot.
By the way, when I took the photos for this blog post, I had a problem with the fumes coming from the sauce when cooking it. I shot the photos in our living room, and there is naturally no exhaust hood. I cannot open the windows (you just are not able to open them!) and I couldn’t open the backyard door either, since our cats would have escaped and it was simply too cold outside to even think of keeping the door open. Well, the cats did finally escape to the shower room because of the strong smell of vinegar! Anyway, after my cooking and photography session, the whole house smelled very intensively vinegar and chili. The smell was still there on the next day. So please don’t make the same mistake but take care of proper ventilation! I don’t know how healthy those fumes are, most probably not too healthy…
And finally, here is the recipe for this sugar-free sweet chili sauce:
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||3.6 g||0.7 g||13.3 g||95 kcal|
|Per tablespoon:||0.2 g||trace||0.8 g||6 kcal|
Tips for variation
Like said, you can use whichever chili pepper variety you like. Unfortunately the chili pepper selection is not too good here in Finland (and I’m the worst ever gardener so that I could grow my own!), so I just had to choose what they had in the grocery store. The variety they had wasn’t very hot, but anyway it gave a nice kick and made a delicious sauce. I naturally left the seeds and the membranes because I wanted to get all the possible heat, but feel free to remove the seeds and membranes if you think the heat is too much for you. Actually, there was habanero peppers as well in the grocery store, but I thought they were too hot for my taste.
Even this sauce is sweet, it’s not overtly sweet, so please feel free to add more sweetener if you like your hot sauce really sweet.
For the St. Patrick’s Day, I made the sauce from jalapenos (yes, they also had those in the grocery store…) and also baked some sour cream and chive crackers which I colored with 1/4 teaspoon spirulina powder.
As sweetener for my jalapeno-based sauce I used powdered erythritol (that I had powdered myself with a powerful blender using this jar, a must-have for everybody who makes nut butters and powdered erythritol!). Powdered erythritol worked well, but Sukrin Gold was even better in my opinion so I’ll stick to that in my future hot sauce experiments. I’m soon running out of that particular sweetener, so let’s see where I will get some more Sukrin Gold here in Finland!
And last but not least: my Facebook page for this blog just reached 500,000 likes milestone. Can you imagine, it’s half a million people! Wow! I feel so happy and humble, I wouldn’t have ever dreamed anything like this. Many thanks for your ongoing support, without you I wouldn’t be doing this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3