Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

I have bought my sticky, sweet Asian sauces pre-made from the grocery store for years.  Many times I am disappointed by some flavor or lack of heat, or a strange consistency, but not anymore!  This time I made it from scratch and I controlled the sweet, sour, and heat.  The entire process only took a few minutes, and the yield was such that I was able to glaze four portions of broiled salmon one night, then completely sauce shrimp & string beans another night. Go ahead, try it!


1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup water

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. sherry

3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 Tbsp. chili paste w/ garlic

1+1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. cool water


  • Place all ingredients (except the cornstarch-water mixture) in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture boil for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the cornstarch-water mixture.  Whisk to incorporate and continue stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes)
  • Pour sauce into a dish and serve or cool it in a jar and store in the fridge for future use

Spicy Thai Peanut Shrimp with Green Beans

Not everything in my kitchen is made from scratch.  If it was, I could probably have a new post for every day of the week.  But it’s not, so I don’t.  In fact, Neil and I can be found munching a take-out pizza about once a month.  We’ve had our share of turkey sandwiches, burgers, dogs, boxed mac-and-cheese, etc.  With that in mind, this is a meal that I threw together in less than 10 minutes- yes you heard me right.  And it was great!  Spicy, vinegary peanut shrimp over smooth rice noodles with sweet, steamed fresh green beans.

shrimp in spicy peanut sauce over rice noodles, with steamed green beans

What I did:

  • Boiled some water and tossed in the packaged noodles to cook for 6 minutes
  • While that was going I heated a bit of oil in a fry pan with some red pepper flakes and added the frozen shrimp, then covered so that the shrimp would heat up quickly
  • The green beans went into a steam pan for about 7 minutes to get their cook on
  • When the shrimp were fully heated, I removed their tails then threw them back into the pan and poured in a bottle of peanut sauce just to get warm
  • Drained the noodles
  • Chopped a bit of fresh cilantro
  • Plated dinner, shrimp and sauce over noodles, sided by beans, topped with cilantro


Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Mango Basil Salsa and Jasmine Rice

Last week I had a special request for a coconut shrimp dish with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.  I got my fingertips to work scouring the interwebs and combined some recipes, then changed them up a bit, and came up with what’s below.  Sweet, spicy, crunchy shrimp over creamy coconutty Jasmin rice, and sweet mango salsa.



1 mango, peeled and finely diced (Frozen works just as well and Trader Joe’s carries them)

5 basil leaves, julienned

1 lime, juiced

salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 fresh jalapenos, sliced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 lime, zested

1/4 cup coconut milk

Small handful basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

15 grinds pepper

1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp

1 Cup panko

½ Cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

Jasmine Rice:

1 cup jasmine rice

3/4 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup water

Pinch salt


  • For the salsa: Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Make up to a day in advance. Keep covered in the refrigerator.
  • For the shrimp: In a mixing bowl, combine jalapenos, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, coconut milk, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours, refrigerated.

  • Roll the marinated shrimp around in the panko-coconut mixture to coat evenly
  • Spread coated shrimp out on a baking sheet and cover with remaining coating, spray lightly with oil or pan spray (to assist with browning) and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes (just long enough to create a browned, crunchy coating)
  • Put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • Add reserved marinade to a pan, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour over the cooked rice and serve with Shrimp topped with Mango Salsa.