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Jan 17, 2013 11:14 AM

Chile Garlic Sauce vs Paste... is there even a difference?

So this is just something I'm wondering about... in some recipes I see the author calls for chile garlic sauce, and others I see them call for chile garlic paste. These two recipes are an example: (sauce) and (paste).

This is the stuff I have, and it's all my store had... are both recipes talking about the same thing and just using different terminology?

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  1. The recipe that calls it "sauce" says to look for the rooster. So they are likely referring to Sriracha sauce. Which I use gallons of.

    The "Rooster" company, Huy Fong also makes a paste form which tastes quite similar but is coarse and thick. The second recipe is likely referring to that.

    They are pretty interchangeable unless viscosity is an issue.

    Your link didn't take me to whatever product you have but it's the Rooster people so I'm guessing that whatever you have is fine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I don't think she would call Sriracha chile garlic sauce, because other recipes of hers actually call for Sriracha so she knows the difference.

      I did make the pork kebabs and just used the chile garlic sauce (Here's a better link )... it was just for a marinade so it didn't matter much if it wasn't quite right.

      1. re: C. Hamster

        No - the "rooster" doesn't automatically mean "Sriracha". "Huy Fong" makes Chili Garlic Sauce as well as Sriracha & a few other chili-based sauces - all are TOTALLY different animals & NOT interchangeable AT ALL. Sriracha is sweeter & thinner & does NOT have the same interplay of chili & garlic. It's more of an inexpensive table condiment & doesn't even come close to the depth of flavor that Chili Garlic Sauce has.

        Any recipe calling for Chili Garlic Sauce or Chili Garlic Paste is NOT calling for Sriracha. They're calling for Chili Garlic Sauce. Whether the Chili Garlic concoction is called "sauce" or "paste" in a recipe, it's the same thing. But please don't think Sriracha is a decent substitute. It's not.

      2. I don't know what products are available where Kalyn is, so I can't comment on that.

        In Asia, a chile garlic sauce could refer to a ketchup-type sauce that also has chillis and garlic added - that's actually very common in some areas. In Sri Lanka, that's one of the ketchup-type options available for French fries at McDonalds, for example. It could also be a sriracha type sauce like C Hamster said, which, to my knowledge, is not at all tomato based. And Huy Fong's chili paste is a beautiful beautiful thing, but not even remotely similar to the chilli garlic sauce used in Sri Lanka.

        If you wanted to make Kalyn's recipe as it's written, I'd be inclined to ask her directly exactly what she meant. Or, if you're adventurous, try it both ways.

        In other words, they might be referring to the same thing or they might not. It's too difficult to tell.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LMAshton

          I believe she's in Utah, so I'm guessing she doesn't have access to a wide variety of ethnic sauces :)

        2. Some Chili Garlic Sauces may have rice wine or vinegar as an ingredient......Chili Garlic Paste does not.

          I would suggest you also consider using Sesame Chili Oil as a alternative for some of the recipes you are looking at to make... I prefer it over the paste.

          1. Notice that while the Chow recipe calls for paste, it says their favorite brand is Huyfong. Huyfong only makes a chile garlic sauce.

            ": Look for chile-garlic paste in the Asian section of your supermarket. We like the one made by Huy Fong Foods (with the rooster on the jar)."

            Evidently to that author, the sauce and paste are the same thing. Plus a 1 1/2 tsp, the exact consistency of the sauce is not critical. In your other recipe the hot sauce is optional. Don't sweat it - use what you have and what suits your fancy.

            I have used a jar of HF chile garlic sauce. But for dressing that already has some sweetness I might use Thai sweet chile sauce, keeping mind that it usually has larger flakes of chile and seeds.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              Thanks all!

              I'm pretty limited on what my store has (ie they don't have any sweet chile sauce, which I love, unless I wanted to buy "Panda Express" brand :-P) and I'm pretty new to Asian cooking, so I thought it best to ask instead of assume :)

            2. According these recipes, there's nothing exotic about chile garlic sauce/paste
              mostly fresh red chiles, some garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt