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I’ll seriously date myself here. I once owned a red & black Rally Sport Camaro with a cassette deck. Yep – CASSETTE! One of my heavy rotation tapes, never taken out of the car actually, was Appetite For Destruction. I generally only listened to the A-Side as it had all my favorite songs. Over time, I figured out the timing that allowed me to switch to the B-Side to catch “Sweet Child O’ Mine” then switch back to “the good side”. It still holds up (or at least about half of it) as one of the greatest rock records ever and the Axl of Appetite was as rock god as they came. (Perhaps not so much anymore.)
Cherie (of We Can Tour That fame) is a fan of Frank’s RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce but from time to time it is difficult to find. It also has gotten sweeter over the years, like high fructose sweeter. So I decided, as I’m also somewhat a fan, to create my version with less sugar (but still REAL sugar) and a bit more bite. It does require a bit of attention to keep from scorching or getting too thick, but the end result is something far more satisfying on everything from broccoli tots to chicken tenders to mac & cheese.
SWEET CHILI O’ MINE
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
4 ounces white sugar
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 ounces Sambal Oelek
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Add the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and soy sauce to a non-stick pan.
Heat over medium heat, while stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Let simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the sambal oelek and stir to combine thoroughly. Let it cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat until slightly thickened.
Mix the cornstarch and water into a smooth slurry and add it to the sauce.
While stirring often to prevent burning, simmer the sauce for another 5-8 minutes until it reaches your desired thickness. Bear in mind this sauce will thicken as it cools. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
Once cooled, pour into an airtight bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator