Chile Garlic Sauce ~ Nga Yoke Thee Achin

This chile garlic sauce, or nga yoke thee achin, is a classic Burmese condiment that you’re gonna find yourself wanting to put on everything.

A pot of chile garlic sauce with a ladle inside and two small jars partially filled with chile garlic sauce beside it.

A standard hot sauce on tables in Burma, this chile garlic sauce for every occasion is hot, tart, and a little sweet. If possible, make it at least a day before you first want to serve it.–Naomi Duguid

How do I use chile garlic sauce?

This hot Burmese chile garlic sauce also has notes of tart and sweet. The author, Naomi Duguid, reach for it whenever she’s eating rice or noodles, fried eggs, grilled meat, and almost anything savory that’s deep-fried. Once you have a stash of it in your refrigerator, you’ll never want to bother with store-bought Sriracha or other commercial hot sauces again.

Chile Garlic Sauce | Nga Yoke Thee Achin

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 28 | Makes 1 3/4 cups
4.5/5 - 4 reviews
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Wearing gloves and being mindful not to touch your eyes (!), break the chiles in half, break off the stems, and rid the chiles of some or all of the seeds (there’s heat in them there seeds). Place the chile pieces in a small pot with the water. If your garlic is somewhat dried out and harsh tasting, add it now, too. 

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the chiles are softened and have swelled up a little. If your garlic is young and fresh, add it for the last minute of cooking. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a food processor, carefully combine the cooled chiles, garlic, cooking liquid, fish sauce, and sugar and process or grind to a coarse paste. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula. Add the vinegar and process again. The sauce may seem sorta watery but that’s okay.

Transfer the sauce to a clean, dry glass jar and store in the refrigerator, preferably for at least a day before using and up to several weeks. (When you make the sauce, it will seem watery, but letting it settle for a day gives it time to thicken. It also allows the flavors to meld nicely.) Originally published May 29, 2013.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Being a big fan of both Sriracha and fish sauce (how can something that smells so vile make food taste so good?), I had to try this chile sauce. Quick, easy, and delicious, it’s a definite keeper.

I’ve been putting it on all sorts of dishes—curry, chili that needed a little more heat, tacos—for the past few days. Lucky for me, the first time I used it was the same night I made a milkshake. Fortuitous combo. My “some-seeds” sauce was so blazingly hot, the milkshake was essential for a whole-mouth cool down. You all do know the perfect antidote to too much heat is a milkshake, right? But that’s another evaluation.

I had some fresh spring garlic and a package of dried chiles, plus vinegar and fish sauce, which are staples around here, so I was all set. I don’t know the exact type of chile; these sorts, which I purchase at Asian markets, are rarely labeled with anything in English other than “dried red chiles.” That’s probably why the recipe doesn’t specify. They’re little, dark red, and somewhat brittle. Oh, and full of seeds. Thinking myself perhaps more fireproof than I actually am, I followed the directions to remove “some” of those seeds. Next time I’ll remove them all. Other than that, the directions were perfect.

I used 12 cloves of garlic and part rice vinegar, part cider vinegar because that’s what I had on hand. The sauce thickens considerably on sitting.

This sauce was far too hot for my taste buds/mouth/throat. I used a combination of chipotle and chile de arbol peppers. It was hard to remove most of the seeds from the chile de arbols so the finished product did have some seeds. The timings provided in the recipe worked for me. I blended the final product in a blender, as I don’t have a food processor.

The immediate result was a fairly thick sauce that was VERY hot. As it was too hot for my taste, I gave it to some friends who think the more heat the better. They loved the sauce and kept on adding more to their fish dinner. One of them said that he’ll be replacing his Sriracha with this sauce.

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