"This versatile sauce is a perfect accompaniment to all kinds of chicken dishes. It will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for months, always at the ready to be served with the likes of grilled chicken wings, Hainanese chicken rice or even just a simply poached chicken breast." Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Singapore

500 ml





Skill level

Average: 3.8 (44 votes)


  • 12 red bird’s eye chillies, stalks removed
  • 6 thick slices peeled ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp calamansi juice (about 6 calamansi, see Note), or 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chicken oil (rendered chicken fat), or 2 tbsp peanut oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe makes about 500 ml (2 cups).

Pound the chilli, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt together in a mortar and pestle until very smooth. This will take some time.

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a small saucepan, then pour over the chilli mixture. You can vary the amount of stock depending on the consistency of the chilli sauce you’re after. If eating straight away, stir in the calamansi juice, then adjust the seasoning if necessary so that the balance of sweet, sour and salty tastes is pleasant. If serving later, stir in the juice just before serving.

Heat the chicken oil in a small saucepan until hot, the pour over the chilli mixture and stir to combine. 



• Calamansi is a small citrus fruit from the tree of the same name and is seasonally available from Asian greengrocers. Substitute lemon, lime or cumquat juice if calamansi is not available. 

• Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. If you’re planning on keeping the sauce for that long, consider pouring a layer of hot chicken fat over it to keep it airtight and only stir in the calamansi juice before serving.


Image by Adam Liaw.


Destination Flavour Singapore airs Thursdays at 8.05pm on SBS. Visit the program page for more details, recipes and guides.