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Recipes that are Combo Spicy/Sweet?

A dish that I have been making for company a lot recently that has not yet failed to have people go back for seconds (even the non-foodies and skinny people!), is chili served over sweet potato. I've served it both as a turkey chili and as a vegetarian chili. I always get comments about how good the spiciness of the chili (and I actually only make it medium spicy) tastes with the sweetness of the sweet potato.

It made me wonder about what other dishes are out there, that combine spicy and sweet. Do you have favorites? Especially wanted are easy to make ones!

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  1. That sounds wonderful! I am a sweet/spicy person like crazy. It is a balance thing to me. Where do I begin? Many pan sauces, glazes, reductions and so on I make are spicy/sweet as I like to add tart/sweet cranberry, apricot, blackberry, raspberry, etc. preserves with spicy grainy mustard. I often make savoury sweet/spicy preserves; in fact, today I made another batch of spicy red pepper jelly that has a bit of a kick with the addition of hot peppers. When I make chili I add some chocolate. Speaking of chocolate, I make a killer bittersweet chocolate and blue cheese sauce for meat and game. Very good balsamic drizzled over strawberries and/or ice cream with cracked black pepper is another example.

    Many meat rubs and condiments I make (i.e. Thai) are sweet and spicy. To many Thai dishes I add cane sugar and of course red or green Thai chile sauce. I also love making sweet/spicy ketchups and mustards.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chefathome

      Regarding preserves, I like to just grab whichever looks good today, add in some cider vinegar and sriracha, and use it to glaze chicken thighs, especially after giving them a nice spice rub.

      Also, I've made a turkey/sweet potato "gumbo" that is really good, and sounds like your chili idea all in one.

      1. re: chefathome

        chefathome, I'd love to hear more from you about that bittersweet chocolate and blue cheese sauce -- sounds intriguing.

      2. I love the idea of putting chili on a sweet potato. One of my favorites is a Guy Fieri recipe on the food network site. It is for Mango Chipotle sauce to go over chicken---i put it on lots of things (pork, rice, fish, shrimp, etc.).

        1. the first ones that come to mind are whipped chipotle sweet potatoes and spicy brownies or chocolate cake.

          a few ideas/recipes here:

          1. Some regions have a large repertoire of sweet and spicy items, and the combination is a signature element of those cuisines. Someone mentioned Thai above. I would add in Gujarati food. Often one finds sweet, spicy-hot, and sour together in Gujarati dishes and chutneys.

            1. That really sounds awesome. I'm going to try it soon.

              1. I make a dark chocolate ice cream with cayanne pepper. Funny someone said chipotle sweet potatoe mashed actually made it last night. Sweet and spicy is probably my favorite combo.

                1. Interesting ideas, everyone, thanks, I can't wait to try! I'm not a big cook but this sounds like a whole new area for me to explore. And no wonder I love going out for Thai food...and I will now have to google Gujarati food, I know nothing about it.

                  1. Ginger is my favorite 'hot' spice to pair with sweet things.

                    1. I love gingerbread made with a nice amount of black pepper in addition to ginger.

                      1. I really love homemade sweet and spicy tomato jam. Soooo great on toast, crackers, goat cheese, .........your finger :)

                        1. Jezebel sauce, made with pineapple preserves and horseradish, among other things, and served with cold seafood, crackers...also a nice variation of raspberry jam mixed with very hot horseradish and served with cold prawns. And If you'd like a recipe for fiery shrimp with coconut cream chile sauce, I'm glad to give it to you.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mamachef

                            Mm, the raspberry jam mixed with the horseradish for prawns sounds wonderful. And yes, thanks, I've love the recipe for fiery shrimp with coconut cream chile sauce, that sounds great!

                          2. My most recent guilty pleasure is Mae Ploy "Sweet Chilli Sauce." It's a great glaze / dip for chicken. Perfect for summer rolls. And a friend even served it dumped over a block of cream cheese with a side of Triscuits. Sweet and spicy have a beautiful way of balancing each other.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              That Thai sweet chilli sauce 'for chicken' is practically candy!

                              A Malay company, Lingham & Sons makes sweet chilli sauce that has a stronger garlic & ginger components (#4 in the picture)

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                A couple of years ago a CH posted a 'recipe.' Take a large shrimp, lay it lengthwise on a wonton wrapper, roll it up and seal it. Fry it. by the time the wrapper is brown the shrimp is done. Drain. Dip in Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce. It is SO good.