Learn how to make Schezwan Sauce at home. Its a popular Indo-Chinese condiment and is initially sweet until it drops a fiery hot spicebomb on your taste buds! A lot of red chilies go into the making of this sauce and it can be stored in the refrigerator for 30 days!
Can you pass me those momos please? Because I want to dip them in this schezwan sauce multiple times till they are slathered in it, shove them in my mouth and become a fire breathing dragon! This sauce is made for every street side momo that you've ever eaten in your life. It's sweet, spicy and truly 'indo-chinese', meaning it's probably born somewhere in India but served with chinese food. And today, let's learn how to make it!
I cannot move forward without mentioning this super cute, but totally embarrassing childhood story. Every time my sister and I visited our favorite chinese restaurant, we would order our standard Chicken Lollipops with Schezwan Sauce. I think it was more for the sauce than the lollipops. We would beg for extra sauce at the end of the meal and bring some home so that we could snack on it the next day with papad. I know. Strange combination. But trust me, this sauce goes so well with papad - a true blue indo-chinese combination, if you get my gist 😉
It's just one of those memories that two sisters shared while growing up, that only we think is funny anymore. I'd totally understand if you are a little weirded out. But papad + schezwan sauce = still my favorite snack!
This schezwan sauce needs a loooot of red chilies 🌶🌶, is fiery hot 🔥🔥 and as some foodies might say 'definitely complex'. Because it's sweet first and then spicy. You will definitely become a fire breathing dragon by the end of it, but will not be able to stop yourself from reaching out for more. Since I discovered it, I make a large batch at least once a month and use it for as long as it lasts.
How to make Schezwan Sauce + Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe:
Chillies: I used a combination of Byadgi Chillies (for heat) and Kashmiri Chillies (for colour and flavour). You can change the proportions a little if you want it to be more or less spicy.
The chillies are soaked in hot water to soften them and then blended with a little bit of that water into a coarse paste. We don't want to break them down completely because we want texture as well. So keep the mixture coarse where you can still see bits of chillies
- Shallots/Sambar Onions/Pearl Onions: Any of these smaller varieties of onions will work here. They have a milder flavour than red onions and soften beautifully
- Garlic and Ginger: Lots of finely chopped garlic and ginger. I usually buy peeled garlic when I make this schezwan sauce/ schezwan chutney to make life easier
- Ketchup: My favourite thing to add when I'm making Indo Chinese because it has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, acidic
- Sugar: Might seem like a lot but you need this to balance out the heat from the chillies
- Soy Sauce: Light soy sauce to add that hit of umami
- Vinegar: To add acidity. Use synthetic or rice vinegar
- Oil: There is ⅓ cup of oil in this recipe. I don't recommend reducing it. The oil does two things - it helps cook the chillies till they are jammy and helps preserve this sauce so that it can last up to a month in the fridge
This is a simple recipe that has a lot of hands off time while the sauce is simmering and reducing
- Soak: Soak the chillies in hot water to soften them. I like to discard the stems before soaking
- Blend: Blend to a coarse paste with a little water. The smoother the chilli paste, the less texture you'll have in the sauce. And that texture makes a big difference
- Saute: Saute the ginger, garlic and onions in oil till they soften but be careful not to brown the onions. As soon as they are translucent, you know they are ready.
- Chillies: Add the coarsely blended chillies and all the other ingredients along with water and mix well
- Simmer: Let the sauce come to a simmer and then cover and cook, stirring occasionally in between till the sauce reduces and takes on a jammy consistency. You should also see oil floating on top. That's when you know the sauce is ready and the chillies have cooked down. This process can take anywhere between 25-40 minutes.
- Cool and store: Let the sauce cool completely before you transfer it to an airtight container. This will last for up to 4 weeks in the fridge (if you don't finish it before that 😂)
If you still aren't convinced about this low-effort high-rewards sauce, here are a few more reasons:
- Use the sauce with stir fried veggies and rice to dole out spicy schezwan fried rice in minutes or create a Lazy Girl’s Schezwan Chicken Bowl
- Coat manchurian balls with schezwan sauce for schezwan manchurian (Majorly Indo-Chinese)
- Do a triple schezwan with rice, noodles and crispy noodles - Triple reward!
- Use this sauce as a dipping sauce for chicken lollipops, chicken nuggets, veg nuggets, fries, wedges, chips and papad
- Slather on parathas, roll it up and enjoy a quick snack
Richa's Top Tips
- Heat Levels: The proportion of chillies will determine heat levels in this sauce. You can play around with this proportion based on how spicy you'd like your schezwan chutney/sauce to be
- Oil: I wouldn't recommend reducing the oil in this recipe as it helps preserve the sauce so that it can be stored for a month or so. We'll also be using very small quantities of it for dipping or as a condiment so the total calories are not very high
- Storage: The sauce can be store in a clean, air tight container in the fridge for up to a month
- Freezer Friendly: You can also portion the sauce and freeze it and it can last for up to 3 months. I sometimes like to portion it out into ice trays and freeze it. Once frozen, I remove the cubes, transfer them to a zip lock and freeze. Then I have perfect portions anytime I want to thaw them
- Chopper: Use a chopper or food processor to chop the shallots, ginger and garlic finely. Makes the task much faster!
Like I said, this sauce is a win-win and there's no turning back!
More Sauce Recipes You'll Love:
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce
- Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Sauce
- 30 Minute Red Tomato Sauce for Pasta and Pizza
Watch the Recipe Video
How To Make Schezwan Sauce (Step by Step Video)
- Soak the chillies in hot water for half an hour. Add only the chillies to a blender along with 2-3 tablespoon water and blend to a coarse paste
- Heat oil in a pan and add garlic and ginger. Saute on a low flame till the raw aroma goes. Be careful not to brown or burn the ginger garlic.
- Add the minced onions and let them cook on a low flame till they soften and turn translucent. Be careful not to let them brown.
- Once the onions look like they are almost melting, add ground chilies, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, salt and ¼ cup water. Mix well.
- Bring this to a boil and simmer till the sauce thickens. Oil should have separated, and there should be some oil floating on top.
- Switch off the flame and let it cool. Once the sauce has completely cooled down, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 15 days.