My mom’s homemade chili paste is comfort food to me. Growing up, there is always a bottle of chili paste in the refrigerator. I add her chili paste to almost every home cooked meal that I eat. I add this chili paste to bowls of rice filled with meat and vegetables (and mix it all up bibimbap-style), to noodle soups (because I like my food spicy) and even to western-style meals of steak and roast chicken.

When I decided to start documenting my mother’s recipes, this chili paste was right at the top of my list. Coming up next is my mother’s sambal chili, or rempah – the sort she uses to cook sambal okra, sambal kangkong, sambal eggplant and as a base for laksa!

Chili paste
Vietnamese chili padi
Freshly squeezed lime juice, sliced garlic


160g Vietnamese chili padi, seeds removed, sliced

60g freshly squeezed lime juice

85g fresh garlic, sliced


  1. Blend chili padi and garlic into a fine paste using a food processor into a fine paste. If you prefer, you could pound the chili and garlic using a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add lime juice to the chili paste gradually and taste. Depending on whether you prefer your chili paste more tart or less tart, adjust the amount of lime juice according to your taste.
  3. DO NOT ADD SALT to the chili paste.


  1. To make the ginger-chill paste used as a condiment in chicken rice, add blended ginger and a spoonful of chicken oil to the chili paste.

Mom’s Chili Paste

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