We used to make this in the hotel I worked in and would serve it with seasonal veggie fritters and crème fraîche. A soft boiled egg with a piece of toast slathered in butter and this is just about one of my favourite meals ever.
10 cloves of garlic
6 red chilies
1 red bell pepper
3 inch piece of ginger
1 inch piece of galangal (just use more ginger if you can’t find it )
8 lime leaves
3 stalks lemongrass, tough outer fibres removed
1 tbsp coriander seeds
250g palm sugar (I’ve substituted jaggery and demerara with success)
100ml rice vinegar
25ml fish sauce
50ml soy sauce
Put the first eight ingredients in a food processor and whizz to a paste.
Put the sugar and water in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and leave to bubble until a dark caramel forms. This will take quite a while. Don’t stir until the sugar has dissolved or it will crystallise.
Then add the paste, fish sauce and soy sauce and simmer until it reaches a jam like consistency. The colour should go from bright red to darker than bourguignon – be patient.
Store in sterilised jars or keep refrigerated.