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Recipe courtesy of Yia Vang

Tiger Bite Hot Sauce

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
There are four elements on a Hmong dinner table: meat, rice, vegetables and kua txob (hot pepper sauce). The hot sauce is the glue that connects all of the flavors together and having it on the table is so essential that my mom once stopped a family dinner until one was quickly whipped up. The base of this sauce is a mixture of garlic, Thai bird chiles and shallot that are cooked over an open hardwood fire. Charring the shallot helps bring out its sweetness and balances the heat of the chiles. My mother’s traditional version includes cilantro, fish sauce and lime juice, but I also like to include oyster sauce to add a sweet and earthy flavor.



Special equipment:
an open fire set up with a grill grate 
  1. Set up a hardwood fire and let it burn to low-burning embers (see Cook’s Note). Set up your grate for direct and indirect heat cooking.
  2. Brush the garlic, chiles and shallot with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the garlic and chiles on a small baking sheet or boat made with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the tray and the shallot, cut-side down, on the grill grate over indirect heat. Grill until soft and tender, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Stem the roasted chiles and quarter the shallots.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, combine the chiles, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper into a coarse paste. Add the cilantro and combine until it is broken into small pieces. Stir in the fish sauce, oyster sauce, lime juice and 2 to 3 tablespoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook’s Note

Make sure to use untreated hardwood, such as cherry, hickory or mesquite, that is safe for cooking.