All-purpose chili sauce

Sambal serba guna / All-purpose chili sauce

Servings: 30 oz
Author: Marvellina
Print Recipe


  • 2 oz of large dried Mexican chili but you can use Thai or Chinese dried chili too
  • 3 Thai chili - optional for extra spicyness
  • 1/4 cup of small to medium dried shrimp available at refrigerated section in Asian grocery store
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar or regular sugar/brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt to taste optional

Other things you can add to the chili sauce:

  • Asian fermented bean paste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Vinegar or lime juice for tartness


  • Briefly rinse the dried chili and dried shrimp with water and then pat them dry. Cut off the stems and place them in a large heat-proof container or even better put them directly into the food processor (less things for you to wash). Very carefully pour in 1/2 cup of boiling water and let them soak for about 10 minutes until soft. Add in the garlic and then whirl them into a fine paste. They will be a bit runny but will thicken up when you cook them
  • Transfer the chili mixture into a medium sauce pan, add in sugar and pinch of salt and bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly thickened. Have a taste and add more salt to your taste if needed. Transfer into a heat-proof container. Good for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. You can double or triple the recipe and freeze them. Just let them thaw in the refrigerator and they will be ready to use again.

If you want a version with oil

  • Just add about 1/4 cup of oil in to the cooked chili and stir to mix. It may splatter a bit but nothing too messy


This AP chili sauce can be make into sweet chili sauce too by just adding more sugar