Szechuan Sauce is a tasty, fiery, sweet, and savory condiment. It is a great dipping sauce, but you can also use it in cooking. There are many ways to make this sauce, but I have picked the most flavorful version to share. For your convenience, I have included a video tutorial and step-by-step images below to help you make this easy Szechuan Sauce recipe in 15 minutes.
You will find Szechuan Sauce spelled as Schezwan sauce or Sichuan sauce in different articles, and it is prepared in different ways.
The recipe I’m sharing in this post is not McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce you usually get with kids’ meals or chicken McNuggets. This Szechuan Sauce has more flavor, and the ingredients are slightly different.
Although this is a spicy (fiery) sauce, I will share tips to keep the heat bearable while maintaining the authentic flavor. Szechuan peppercorns are hard to get, so we will use an alternative when preparing this dish. You will enjoy this sauce with my Vegetables Chow Mein, and it tastes great in my Chicken Schezwan Noodles recipe.
🥘 INGREDIENTS TO MAKE SZECHUAN SAUCE
All the ingredients you need to make Szechuan sauce are simple and easy to find. The only ingredient you need to pay attention to is the red chilies; below, I’m explaining why.
Dry red chilies: Different types of dry red chilis are in the market. Some are super-hot, others are mild. We will use two types. Kashmiri red chili has mild heat and beautiful red color. The other type is regular dry red chili or Bedgi, which is hot. Having these two combinations makes you enjoy the flavors in the sauce.
Oil: It’s best to use neutral cooking oil, a flavorless one, like sunflower and corn oil.
Ginger, garlic, and celery: Add delicious earthy and warm flavor to the sauce.
Soy sauce: You can go for dark or light. It’s best to use low sodium to control the seasoning.
Ketchup: Tomato ketchup gives Szechuan sauce a subtle, sweet flavor. I also use it instead of adding sugar.
Water: We will use hot water to soften the dry chilis to easily make them into a smooth paste. We will also add it when making the sauce.
Optional: Add a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce a minute before turning off the heat.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE THE SAUCE
Making Szechuan Sauce at home is super simple. Let’s see how to make it step by step:
Remove the red chilis’ stems, wash them, deseed them, and soak them in hot water for 30 minutes to an hour. Discard the water and put it aside.
Add the soaked chilies to a blender with 3 tablespoons of water. Blend them until they turn into a smooth paste.
Whisk ½ cup + 3 tablespoon water, ketchup, salt, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set this saucy mixture aside.
Add the oil, ginger, garlic, and celery to a hot saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and stir for one minute.
Add the chili paste we blended earlier to the pan. Stir it on medium heat for a minute; this will remove the raw taste of the chilies. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Uncover the pan and add the ketchup and soy sauce mixture. Stir for one minute, cover, and let it simmer for 15 minutes on the lowest heat.
Uncover, and stir for a few seconds. If the oil is separated from the sauce, your Szechuan sauce is ready.
💭 MUNA’S TIPS
- Keep your hands away from your face when handling the chilies. Wash your hands; everything contacted the red chili with soap and cold water.
- If you want the sauce to be mild, only use Kashmiri chilies.
- Do not reduce the amount of oil in this recipe; the oil works as a preservative and allows you to keep this sauce refrigerated for longer.
- To make this a gluten-free sauce, use tamari soy sauce.
- Do not use garlic powder; you won't get the same flavor.
- Instead of ketchup, use one tablespoon of your favorite sweetener, brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
- Add a tang to the sauce with two tablespoons of white or rice vinegar.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Szechuan sauce?
Szechuan sauce is a spicy sauce with a slight sweetness. It’s a delicious combination of spicy red chilies, garlic, and soy sauce.
The sauce is a popular Indo-Chinese recipe. You might see some Sichuan peppers in many recipes, but I’ve simplified this recipe for you to get the same flavor but without any special ingredients that aren’t readily available.
How to use Szechuan sauce?
You can use it as a condiment with snacks such as potato wedges, chicken nuggets, spring rolls, and French fries, or you can use it as a stir fry sauce when making fried rice or a marinade for tofu, beef, and chicken.
Is this sauce spicy?
This sauce is spicy because of the number of chili peppers, but you can make it less spicy using Kashmiri chili.
Why is there no cornstarch in this recipe?
The cooking method I use gives the sauce a better consistency than when using cornstarch slurry.
🍲 MORE RELATED RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
When the sauce is cool, transfer it to a sterilized glass jar. To sterilize the glass jar, wash it first and then place it in hot water for 10 minutes. Place the jar on the counter to dry, then use it.
The Szechuan sauce can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. When freezing, it is best to freeze in small Ziploc bags.
To thaw: Either place the frozen sauce in the fridge overnight or place it, while in the Ziploc bag in warm water.
Easy Szechuan Sauce Recipe
- 2 cups dry red Kashmiri chilis deseeded
- 2 Byadgi chilies deseeded
- 1 stick celery minced
- 12 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
- 2 ½ inch ginger minced
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce Please read the notes
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup + 3 tablespoon water
- Remove the red chilis’ stem, deseed it, and soak it in warm water for 30 minutes to an hour. After the time is up, drain the chilies.
- Add the dry red chilis and 3 tablespoons of water in a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Mix ½ cup plus three tablespoon water, ketchup, salt, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Keep aside.
- Add oil, ginger, garlic, and celery in a hot small pot. Reduce heat to medium and stir for one minute.
- Add the red chili paste to the garlic and ginger and stir on medium heat for a minute. Reduce the heat to the lowest, cover the pan. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and add the ketchup mixture, stir for one minute, cover, and let it simmer for 15 minutes on the lowest heat.
- Uncover and stir for a few seconds; if the oil is separated from the sauce, your Szechuan sauce is ready. Turn off the heat.
- Wait until the sauce is completely cool, then transfer to an air-tight container or a jar. Refrigerate for up to three weeks.
- If you are not a fan of fiery food. Remove the seeds from the chilies before cooking for a milder flavor.
- If you don't have low-sodium soy sauce, use ½ or ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Storing methods for refrigerating and freezing are in the post above.
- For more heat, you can add red pepper flakes to the sauce.