Types of chili peppers
You don't have to use exactly the same chili peppers we do. Use what's available to you, or experiment with different varieties for new flavors and levels of heat.
Chao Tian Jiao chili peppers, for example, may not be available at your local grocery store. Chili peppers with comparable heat levels are serrano and tabasco peppers, so if you see either of those, they'll make fantastic substitutions.
To go milder and fruitier, you can try using jalapeños or New Mexico chili peppers.
To go hotter, you can opt for chili peppers that have higher Scoville Units. Habaneros and Scotch bonnets are off the charts for us, but if that's your thing, give it a try and let us know! We'll cheer you on from here...
Don't use animal oils
For homemade sauces that you might use for more than one meal, you have to take into consideration how well the ingredients keep. Animal fats and oils, like lard, go rancid very, very quickly. We recommend using plant-based oils for this chili sauce recipe, ideally a cooking oil with a neutral flavor.
Great options include peanut oil, corn oil, canola oil, rice bran oil, and vegetable oil. Refined olive oil and avocado oil work well too, but they may be pricier.
Adding ground bean sauce
Ground bean sauce is the secret to rounding out the flavor of this chili sauce. Along with the other seasonings, it gives the chili sauce a deeper, more complex taste other than spice and heat and pain.
If you're making the chili sauce and it's looking, smelling, or tasting too spicy, you can increase the amount of ground bean sauce to mellow out the flavor.
This recipe as it's written now is actually a bit spicier than what my family usually makes! My dad usually does an almost 1:1 ratio of ground bean sauce to fresh chili peppers. We like our chili sauce super friendly.