Makes 11/4 cups
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (preferably a Thai brand)
1/2 cup water
21 grams (3/4 ounce) fresh or drained pickled Thai red chiles, coarsely sliced (or half the chiles if crowd can't handle big spice)
1. Combine the sugar, vinegar, and water in a medium pot set over high heat, and bring to a vigorous simmer, cooking for 10 minutes or so, whisking to help dissolve the sugar.
2. Meanwhile, pound the chiles, garlic and salt in a granite mortar (or food processor) to a very coarse paste. Stir the mixture into the pot.
3. Decrease the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until the liquid thickens slightly and becomes just slightly syrupy, 8 to 12 minutes. The sauce thickens as it cools to room temperature. Use right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a few months.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 86 calories; trace protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams sugar; trace fat; no cholesterol; 2 milligrams sodium; trace dietary fiber.