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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Frugal Pantry: Chili-Garlic Sauce

We just call it “rooster paste.” Vietnamese in origin and similar to the Indonesian sambal oelek, this thick red sauce will add depth and spice to anything you’re making, from a salad dressing to a marinade to a stir-fry. Although you don’t have to be a five-alarm-food lover to appreciate it, bear in mind that even a quarter-teaspoon difference dramatically affects the heat of the dish. Experiment to see what works for you.
Chili-garlic sauce is available in many supermarkets’ “Oriental” sections (though we really wish they’d stop calling them that; aside from offending a lot of people, the word brings back disturbing memories of our childhood Chun King dinners). You can also get it at Asian markets. An 8-ounce jar costs about $2.

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