I will be telling you to do many things with many hot peppers over the next few weeks (as it becomes full-on hot HOT pepper season) because I'm a bit of a freak about them. I've done countless experiments - some of which resulted in recipes that are still staples today, and some of which were potions that ended up too hot to even be in the same room with let alone eat. But still, trust me. I love hot peppers.
If you only do one thing with hot peppers all summer, I would have to say it should be this two-part recipe. Part one (tuong ot toi) is a simple relish that goes great on basically anything and can be made with any pepper, depending on how hot you like it. I most often make this with Hungarian Hot Wax peppers because they're on the milder side - and therefore this relish can eaten more like salsa. Just scoop it by the spoonful. But I've also made it with hotter peppers and it makes a great addition to any meal that needs a little kick.
Part two uses some of what you make in part one, and is a sweet dipping sauce that just begs for a homemade summer roll or grilled chicken.
TUONG OT TOI
Makes one quart
As with many of my pickle and relish recipes, this one is adapted from Linda Ziedrich.
1 1/2 pounds ripe hot peppers
1 C cider vinegar
1 tbsp pickling salt
1 small garlic head, cloves separated and peeled
- Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor, being careful to not blend too much.
- Store in the fridge, where the relish will be spicy and fresh for up to a year.
SWEET CHILI GARLIC SAUCE
1 C distilled vinegar
1 C water
2 C sugar
2 tsp pickling salt
1/4 C minced garlic
1/4 C tuong ot toi (from above)
- Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and garlic to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Reduce the heat and boil gently until the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the chili-garlic relish. Increase the heat and bring the sauce to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool, then store in the fridge for at least a year.