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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chili Peppers and More Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Sauce)

It's almost time to harvest the chili peppers. Some have turned red here and there, but not all of them yet.

Chili Peppers 1

Here, I'll zoom out a little so you can see.

Chili Peppers 2

And zoom out a lot so you get a better idea. This is at my youngest uncle's house. He's got more chili pepper plants in the back.

Chili Peppers 3

My mom called a while back to tell me to make more Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Sauce) because my dad was almost done with his jars.

Almost done?! I gave my parents a 68-oz and two 24-oz jars last winter. Dad eats it every day, my mom said. And three times in the course of the same conversation, she reminded me to make some more. The chili peppers aren't quite ripe yet, I said. She's just reminding me in advance so I'll be sure to make more, mom said again.

Oh, man! I hate making the chili sauce. My eyes water, my nose runs, I cough like crazy. I can't keep my family supplied quickly enough. My parents. My second-youngest uncle's wife. My second-youngest aunt and her husband. My youngest aunt and her husband. The older '88. And a handful of other people.

You should sell this sauce, declared my Portland cousin on my mom's side, after recently tasting the jar I gave him. His wife made sure to stash it in a hidden place in their fridge or else two of their oldest sons' friends would eat it all. I've thought of selling it, but I can barely keep up with demand. I really hate making it since my family likes it spicy! And did I tell you my eyes water, my nose runs, and I cough like crazy? But they all love it so and are sooo appreciative... Grumble. Grumble. And I do love my family... And, really, I only go to this much trouble because they properly appreciate me.

So I supplemented the red peppers from my uncle's garden with a few packs I bought at the grocery store. The red and green mix of chilies reminded me of Christmas.

Chili Peppers 4

It might look like a lot but a wok full of tuong ot xa only fills two 24-oz jars. All that work and pain for only two jars. *Whimper.*

Chili Peppers 5

And the chili peppers are starting to turn red now...

1 year ago today, 2 of 7 random things about me meme: I buy my own flowers.


  1. Hee. . .good thing I don't live anywhere close to you or I'll be haranguing you about chili sauce as well! It's going to be extra work for you because we're also insatiable about chili sauces.

  2. I will be making this again this weekend. I've been dry for a while now, but after having some of yours, I decided to buckle down and do it! But you're right, there's a lot of coughing involved, but I love the smell my house has after I make it. Who need potpourri when you've got chili, garlic and lemongrass :-)? Hubby does not appreciate the smell on his clothes, but loves the taste.

  3. hee hee... It's also a good thing I live half-way across the globe... your chili sauce looks really mean!!!

  4. JS,
    Nah, I'd exchange some chili sauce for any one of the things you and TS cook up! :)

    The smell is just a bit too much for me even with my air purifier cranked on high.

    Really mean? Does that mean very spicy?

  5. awesome! Your uncle's chilli plants are doing so well and there are so many chillis (unlike mine)

    I spied the vietnamese sriracha chilli sauce in your linked post. I have been searching for it in Singapore (and Bangkok) without success. I was wondering if this is sold in Vietnam? hehe

  6. Sriracha is actually a city or region in Thailand. And the Huy Fong foods is the adaptation of that but using American red jalapeno peppers. So it's truly a Vietnamese American creation, that's probably why you haven't been able to locate it at Vietnamese grocery stores in Singapore. They'd have to import it from the US. That and my cousin, who studied abroad in Singapore, said the Vietnamese food there is not good. You can certainly try and find another brand in Vietnam, but when I was in Vietnam, I only remember eating pho with sliced chilies.

    You wanna pay the postage or do a food swap? I checked postage and it'd cost about $12 USD for me to mail you the 17 oz bottle, $17 for the 28 oz. Don't know how much it'd weigh after I package it in a box. That's a lot to pay for a $2 bottle of hot sauce. :P

  7. Seriously when are we gonna see WC brand sauces in our local market? Haha. If it's your kind of thing, you should go for it! Just train and hire people :)

  8. Jeannie,
    My uncle would have to grow a lot more chili pepper plants to meet that kind of demand! :)

  9. That is a skillet full of evil. I don't envy you at all for being forced/cajoled/guilted into making so much of it.

  10. Vicki,
    You ready to try making another batch? ;)

  11. Hell no.

    I mean...I'd love to...but...my chile plants all died...so sad...

  12. I never found the recipe. Do you share?

  13. Jack,
    The Tuong Ot Xa recipe is mentioned and linked to in this post as well as in the recipe page and turns up easily if you used the searchbar.

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