I love making homemade condiments, but not everyone has the time or inclination to make their own ketchup, mustard or hot sauce from scratch. That's why whipping up a big batch of your favorite condiment and bottling it to give as hostess gifts is a gesture that's sure to be appreciated. My pick? Garlicky, spicy and bright Thai sweet chili sauce.I've made up to 6 quarts of the sauce, scaling up a recipe from the Thai cooking blog She Simmers, but even just a couple cups will make enough for two or three friends. The 5-ingredient recipe couldn't be easier, and the finished sauce tastes much fresher than store-bought. Plus the recipe can be tweaked to your taste, made a little sweeter or more acidic, and as spicy as you dare. I bottled the finished sauce pictured above in 5-ounce bottles from Specialty Bottle and labeled them with adhesive labels from Martha Stewart.
Once made, the sauce should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will last for weeks, even months. (I did not use Clearjel, the heat- and acid-stable thickener the recipe recommends for large batches, and the sauce held up fine for several weeks.) But it is so good — eaten with grilled meats, on eggs, as a dipping sauce — it rarely hangs around that long.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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