Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1½ cups sauce
Note: This sauce should be prepared in a well-ventilated area and is best prepared at least 1 to 2 days before using. Cane vinegar and palm sugar can be found at select well-stocked cooking stores, as well as Asian markets.
1 pound mixed fresh red chiles (such as red Fresnos or jalapeños), stemmed and chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cane or rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, more if desired
2 tablespoons palm or light brown sugar, more if desired
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the chiles, garlic, vinegar, salt and sugar to form a coarse paste.
2. Remove the mixture to a non-reactive saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the aroma softens or mellows a bit, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Blend the sauce again to form a smooth paste, thinning as desired with water.
4. Strain the sauce, pressing the solids through a fine mesh strainer with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Taste the sauce, and tweak the flavors as desired with additional salt, sugar or vinegar. Remove the sauce to a glass jar or bottle and cool completely. Refrigerate until needed.