This was the first video Mom shot for Cravings back in 2019 and I have to say she was a natural! "Pepper's Corner" is a series of videos where she'll share all of the tricks up her sleeve in the kitchen. One of her go-to snacks is what we've always called guava dip, because our fruit of choice to dip into the sweet-spicy-salty mixture is underripe green guava. But you can use soooo many different fruits with this, from strawberries to pineapple. We've updated this page with the NEW version from her cookbook, The Pepper Thai Cookbook, because before she just measured by eyeballing and this is a lot easier to follow. Try using it on in a Thai Charfruiterie Board!
Pepper's Sweet-Spicy Chile Fruit Dip
One of the easiest snacks I make is cut-up fruit served alongside this spicy-sweet mixture of sugar, salt, and crushed dried chiles. All over Thailand, in bars and at little roadside carts, you see people dipping slices of tart and crunchy fruit into it. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water—the salt, sweetness, and spiciness balance perfectly with the tangy fruit and pull you in for another bite.
My favorite fruit to use is slightly underripe green guava, which has a beautiful sour flavor. If you can’t find green guavas, try this dip with any tart or firm fruit you love. Below is the rough ratio I use for the dip, but feel free to eyeball the measurement and add more or less to suit your taste.
4 dried bird’s eye chiles or 2 teaspoons Roasted Chile Powder (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
+ Green (underripe) guavas, green mango, apple, pineapple, strawberries, jicama, watermelon, or orange
1. If using whole bird’s eye chiles, break them up and add to a mortar and use a pestle to crush them. (You can also chop them up very finely.) If using the chile powder, you can skip this step.
2. Transfer the crushed chiles (or chile powder) to a small bowl and add the salt and sugar. Stir well.
3. Arrange the fresh fruit on a plate and serve with the dip. Any leftover dip can be kept in a sealed container in the cupboard for up to 2 weeks.
Pepper's Roasted Chile Powder
Makes about 1 cup
Roasted chile powder is one of my most essential ingredients because it adds both earthiness and heat. If you can’t find dried Thai chiles at the market, any small dried red chile will work.
2 cups dried red chiles, such as Thai, de árbol, or japones
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. If you have an oven hood fan, turn it on.
2. Spread the chiles evenly across a sheet pan and roast for about 6 minutes, checking them halfway through. The chiles are done when they change color from red to a very dark reddish brown. Watch closely near the end to make sure they don’t burn.
3. Transfer chiles to a plate and let cool completely. Place them in a mortar and grind with the pestle until they’re the size of red pepper flakes (or use a spice grinder or small blender on high speed for 10 to 15 seconds; make sure the blender is totally dry). Store the chile powder in an airtight container; it keeps for about 3 months or longer if kept in the freezer.
Reprinted from The Pepper Thai Cookbook. Copyright © 2021 by Vilailuck Teigen with Garrett Snyder. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.