Schezwan Sauce

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Schezwan sauce is a terrifically spicy, tangy, and salty condiment made with dry red chilies, garlic, shallots and lots of bright spices. This fusion Indo Chinese recipe of a hot chili sauce compliments any number of recipes and snacks. It is one of the most popular sauces from Indo-Chinese cuisine. Follow my step-by-step instructions with photos and a video for making a batch of this versatile sauce to enjoy with all of your favorite dishes!

overhead shot of schezwan sauce in a white bowl placed on a white plate on a cream napkin

About Schezwan Sauce

Spicy, tangy schezwan sauce also known as schezwan chutney is a versatile condiment that goes great with many delicious snacks. It features a wonderfully pungent combination of hot red chillies, garlic, flavorful sichuan peppers, and salty soy sauce. This recipe can easily be customized to your preferred level of heat for a great dip or bold sauce.

The sauce comes from the Indo Chinese cuisine that originated in Kolkata. This fusion cuisine is a creation of the Chinese community that had immigrated to India and combines the classic Chinese methods of cooking with the Indian spices, herbs and often includes veggies.

Schezwan sauce is a wonderful addition to your meals in a way they simply perk up any plain, bland or boring meal. Make it and refrigerate or freeze to bring more flavors and spice up your everyday meals.

Try dipping your savory snacks like Momos, Spring Rolls, Scallion Pancakes, French Fries or Potato Wedges in this spicy sauce, or bring plenty of bold flavors to your Fried Rice or Noodles with this sauce. Trust me, you will love this condiment if you like spicy food.

Use this basic schezwan sauce to make recipes like Schezwan Noodles, Paneer schezwan and Schezwan Fried Rice

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Schezwan Sauce

Prepare the peppers

1. Firstly, rinse and then soak the 20 dried red chilies in hot water for about 30 minutes. For a slightly less spicy taste it is recommended that you de-seed the chilies before soaking. You can also remove the stems if you prefer.

I added a mix of two Indian variety of dry red chillies – 15 Kashmiri red chillies and 5 Byadagi red chilies.

red chillies soaking in water

2. Next, drain all the water from the soaked red chilies and remove the stalks if not removed earlier. Break them into pieces and then add them to a chutney or spice grinder, food processor, or a blender.

soaked chillies in blender

3. Add a tablespoon of water at a time – up to 2.5 tablespoons total – and blend to make a smooth paste.

chilli paste in blender

4. Use a mortar and pestle to crush 3 to 4 sichuan peppers coarsely. Set aside. You can choose to skip the sichuan if you like, for a less spicy schezwan sauce.

crushing sichuan pepper in stone mortar

Make Schezwan Sauce

5. Next heat 4 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil, or any other vegetable oil, in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.

toasted sesame oil in a frying pan

6. Lower the heat and add 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger.

Sauté for some seconds on low to medium-low heat until no longer raw. Be careful to not brown or burn, or you’ll wind up with a bitter taste.

ginger garlic frying in bubbling hot oil

7. Then add ¼ cup chopped shallots, and sauté until translucent stirring often on a low to medium-low heat.

shallots frying in hot oil in pan

8. Add the ground red chili paste to the pan.

ground red chilli paste being added to hot oil

9. Stir well to combine.

oil mixed with red chilli paste

10. Then add the crushed sichuan pepper, if using. At this point you can add ½ tablespoon of finely chopped celery as shown in the video.

crushed sichuan pepper in red chilli paste in frying pan

11. Saute the paste for 1 to 2 minutes on a low to medium-low heat, until the oil starts to seep from the chili paste. Add ½ cup of water and stir to loosen the paste into a sauce.

sautéing schezwan sauce

12. Simmer the sauce for about 2 minutes on a low to medium-low heat stirring often.

simmering schezwan sauce

13. Now add all of the following ingredients. Stir and mix. Continue to cook the sauce for 5 to 6 minutes more on low to medium-low heat.

  • 2 teaspoons of raw sugar
  • salt as required
  • ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of black pepper powder
  • ½ a teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (or white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar).

TIP: For a more sweeter sauce, opt to include 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup at this step.

adding salt, seasonings to schezwan sauce

14. Turn the heat off. Once the schezwan sauce cools at room temperature, pour it into a small jar or bowl. Cover tightly with a lid and refrigerate.

If the sauce looks very thick, add a few tablespoons of hot water to thin it a bit.

prepared schezwan sauce in pan

15. Serve schezwan sauce as a spicy dipping condiment with your favorite snacks, or you can add it to recipes that require schezwan sauce, such as the schezwan fried rice, noodles, stir fried veggies, stir fried tofu, schezwan dosa, schezwan idli, paneer schezwan etc.

overhead shot of schezwan sauce in a small bowl with chopsticks and schezwan fried rice on a black and white checkered napkin

Tips + FAQs

How can I make a spicier or more mild version of this schezwan sauce recipe?

I have used a mix of the mildly hot Indian variety of Kashmiri red chilies and byadagi chilies. They give a good color, flavor and taste good, too. Depending on your taste buds and spice tolerance, you can choose chilies with lower heat or medium heat, or add more chilies for greater spice.

How long will homemade schezwan sauce keep well?

Scratch-made schezwan sauce stays good in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 weeks in an airtight container. For the best tasting and longest-lasting sauce, I recommend adding a bit of oil to the top of the sauce before sealing the jar.
You can also freeze this sauce to last longer.

How can you enjoy schezwan sauce as a dip?

A few snack suggestions to dip in spicy homemade schezwan sauce include potato wedges or veg cutlet, french fries, spring rolls, dumplings or momos. It also goes quite well with savory fried Indian snacks like cheese pakora or veggie pakora, or samosa.

Some More Popular Condiments!

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overhead shot of schezwan sauce in a white bowl placed on a white plate on a cream napkin

Schezwan Sauce

Schezwan sauce is a spicy and pungent sauce made with dry red chillies, garlic, shallots and spices. It is a fusion indo Chinese recipe of a hot chili sauce to perk up your meals.
4.86 from 48 votes
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Cuisine Indo Chinese
Course Side Dish
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 1 small jar
Units

Ingredients

For Soaking Chillies and Making Paste

  • 20 dry red chilies – less hot or medium hot. I added a mix of 15 kashmiri and 5 byadagi dry red chilies
  • hot water – as needed to cover the chillies
  • 2 to 2.5 tablespoons water or as needed, for blending the red chilies

Other Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or any vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic or 15 small to medium-sized garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots or 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 sichuan peppers – crushed, optional (skip if you don' have)
  • ½ tablespoon finely chopped celery – optional (skip if you don't have)
  • ½ cup water – to be added later
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar or organic unrefined cane sugar or brown sugar – please add as required. For a more sweeter taste, you can even add up to 3 teaspoon sugar.
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper powder or as required
  • ½ teaspoon light soy sauce or as required
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • salt as required

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Rinse and then soak the chilies in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • You can also de-seed the chilies and remove their stems before you soak them.
  • Drain all the water. Remove the stems and then break the chilies. Add them to a chutney grinder or blender. Add water and make a smooth paste of the red chilies.
  • Crush the sichuan peppers coarsely in a mortar-pestle.

Making schezwan sauce

  • Heat toasted sesame oil or any other vegetable oil in a frying pan.
  • Lower the heat. Add the garlic and ginger first and sauté for some seconds till their raw aroma goes away. Don't brown them.
  • Add the chopped shallots and then saute them stirring often till translucent on low to medium-low heat.
  • Add the ground red chili paste and combine thoroughly.
  • Then add the crushed sichuan pepper and finely chopped celery (if using). Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes more till you see oil releasing from the sides of the sauce.
  • Add ½ cup of water and mix well. Simmer for 2 minutes stirring often on a low to medium-low heat.
  • Add salt, sugar, pepper, soy sauce and vinegar.
  • Stir and continue to cook further for 5 to 6 minutes more on low to medium-low heat.
  • Switch off the heat and set the pan aside. Check the taste and add more salt, sugar or pepper as required.
  • Once the sauce cools at room temperature, transfer it in a small jar or bowl. Cover tightly with a lid and refrigerate.
  • Serve schezwan sauce as a condiment with snacks or you can also add in recipes like schezwan fried rice or noodles, vegetable schezwan or veg balls in hot garlic sauce or schezwan dosa.
  • It stays good for about 2 to 3 weeks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • For a sweeter taste consider adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup to the sauce. 
  • Use a mix of dried red chilies that give a good bright color and are moderately spiced. If you use chilies that are very hot or pungent the sauce will also become very spicy. I suggest to either use a mix of Indian varieties of Kashmiri red chili and byadagi red chilli as I have done. Or only use Kashmiri red chilies as shown in the video.
  • You can also add some celery as seen in the video recipe.
  • The recipe can be scaled to make a small or big batch.
  • To preserve the sauce for a longer time, add a layer of oil about ½ inch on top of the sauce. Always refrigerate this sauce and don’t store at room temperature.
  • Note that the approximate nutrition data is for the entire amount of schezwan sauce made from this recipe.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Schezwan Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 622 Calories from Fat 513
% Daily Value*
Fat 57g88%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Polyunsaturated Fat 24g
Monounsaturated Fat 22g
Sodium 1359mg59%
Potassium 451mg13%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 2673IU53%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 21µg20%
Calcium 53mg5%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 28µg7%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 28mg7%
Phosphorus 71mg7%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This schezwan sauce recipe post from the archives (June 2014) has been republished and updated on 10 June 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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170 Comments

      1. sugar is added when salt, soy sauce, pepper is added.
        thanks. i have updated in the post.

  1. I love all your recipes. Tips given buy you are really very helpful. Whenever I want to make something, I always follow your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing ????5 stars

    1. thanks rashmi for this lovely comment. glad to read it. thanks again and happy cooking.

  2. Hello,
    How may garlic should one use if they’re the bigger ones ? Where is live at the garlic pods are really big. Should I still be using 15 pieces of garlic then ?

  3. Really easy and wonderful dear dassana…thanks for th schezwan sauce recipe….tastes exactly like the store bought one didnt know it is quite simple….tnx a ton 4 ur dishes5 stars

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