Updated: Sep 6, 2022
There's one star Thai condiment that's sitting on most American grocery store shelves that you probably walk by every time you're shopping. It's known as nam jim gai or nam jim kai, aka Thai sweet chile sauce. The store bought version is actually quite good, but is a little too sweet for some peoples taste buds.
The authentic homemade version is a great balance of sweet heat and acidity. It's excellent on grilled meats, meat balls and just about any fried food that you can throw at it. It's a very budget friendly condiment and can also be a good way to use up any extra chilies that you have from your summer garden. The traditional recipe is made with red Thai chilies, but you can make them with any spicy chili that you have. Just be aware that the heat levels will obviously change with the pepper varieties.
Cooks Notes: For a little added flavor I like to add fresh lime juice, a splash of fish sauce and herbs like Thai basil or cilantro. This goes especially well with pork, fish and shellfish.
Servings: Makes about 2 cups
1 cup - water
2 cups - granulated sugar
3/4 cups - rice wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
12-16 Thai chilies, sliced thin
20 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
To a pot, add the water, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Simmer the mixture for 8-10 minutes.
In a food processor, add the chilies and garlic. Pulse until they are finely chopped.
Add the chilies and garlic to the pot and bring to a slow simmer. Cook until the mixture just becomes syrupy. It will thicken as it cools down. If you reduce it down to much, thin out with a little water and check for seasoning. The sauce will keep in your refrigerator for about 2 months.