- 6 fresh lime leaves, shredded or 8 dehydrated kaffir lime leaves, crumbled
- 3 stems lemongrass, sliced, bottom third only or 3 tablespoons lemongrass oil
- 8 cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large jalapeños, seeded and roughly chopped
- 2 large red chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup of washed cilantro leaves, firmly packed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 ounces cider vinegar
- 2 ounces fish sauce
- 2 ounces dark soy sauce or Tamari
Place the lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic, chiles, ginger, and cilantro into your food processor and pulse to a rough paste. Make the caramel by placing the sugars into a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Heat the sugar, undisturbed, until it melts and starts to bubble. When it turns dark brown and just begins to smoke, remove it from the heat and gently shake the pot from side to side as the caramel starts to burn. This distributes the heat nicely so it has a more uniform color.
Add the vegetable paste from the processor and stir to combine, being mindful of the hot steam that will be generated upward. Bring the mixture back to a hard boil and add the combined vinegar, fish sauce, and soy sauce again being mindful of the steam.
Bring it back to a boil and cook to the desired consistency: one or two minutes for a thinner style sauce and four-five minutes for slightly thicker. Cool and mix well before pouring into glass jars. Refrigerate. It will thicken slightly as it cools.