Guilin Chili sauce

If you’re like me, and you literally put chili sauce on almost everything you eat, then you should consider making a few jars of this to stock your fridge!

In Asia, we have a huge variety of chili sauces. Why? Because different chili sauces serve different dishes, and we believe you shouldn’t mix them up. 
To name a few, we have chili bean paste (tobanjan), which we use in cooking or as a condiment for dim sum or noodle soup. We have blended chili paste for fried noodles and spicy chili oil for noodle soups and braised and slow cooked brisket or tripe. But ultimately, Guilin chili is one of a kind and very versatile. We drizzle it on dumplings, noodle soup, slow cooked meat, fried noodles, and rice – literally EVERYTHING! 
I was going through the chili sauce collection in my fridge and found the key ingredient in each of them. I learned that fermented black bean paste is the key to bringing out the unique flavour of chili sauce. So let’s fire up your kitchen and your mouth with my Guilin chili sauce!

Makes 2 jars


  • 1.5 cup water
  • 50 g dried chili (spicy and non-spicy kinds)
  • 70 g garlic
  • 25 g black beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp sugar, or more depending on your taste
  • 3 tbsp clear rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or clear rice wine
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Recipe Preparation

Boil water in a small saucepan, then turn heat off and add dried chilis. Use a spoon or spatula to gently press the chilis down so that they are submerged into the water. Set aside for about 10 minutes until chilis reabsorb moisture and cool down.

Meanwhile, finely chop garlic and fermented black beans. Set aside.

Transfer soaked chilis and water into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste.

Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Fry garlic and fermented black beans until fragrant. Tilt saucepan slightly away from you and pour blended chili into garlic and black bean mixture, stirring frequently to avoid chili splashing out from the saucepan. Add salt, sugar, vinegar, and rice wine and turn heat down to medium-low. Stirring regularly, cook for about 3-5 minutes. Check taste and adjust with salt, sugar, or more chilis, depending on your own preference. The sauce should have a kick but should not be extremely spicy. You should be able to taste the fermented black bean and garlic without the chili overpowering the taste.

Pour into sterilized jars and store in a dark, cool, dry place. After opening, they should be kept in the fridge. Use a clean spoon to serve each time to avoid contamination. Serve chili sauce with noodle soup or drizzle on veggies or slow-cooked meats.

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