Sukang Sawsawan is a spiced vinegar dipping sauce made with vinegar, onions, garlic, and chili. It’s sour, tangy, and spicy with a hint of sweetness. Perfect sawsawan for meat, seafood, and many Filipino dishes.
Sukang Sawsawan: Vinegar Dipping Sauce
If you loved the soy sauce and vinegar dipping sauce, you'll definitely love this sukang sawsawan too!
Oh yes, it is definitely sour but the spices and seasonings give it a nice balance of flavor. So, so, good with your favorite fatty dishes! Pangtanggal umay talaga!
And here's what you need to make Filipino sukang sawsawan:
- Vinegar - more on this later.
- Red onion gives the vinegar sauce a tint of pink color. Hence, it is always recommended when making this Filipino vinegar sauce.
- Garlic - Use freshly chopped garlic. I don't recommend substituting it with garlic powder.
- Fish sauce - Adds a nice umami and depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Red chilies - To make the sauce spicy, use Thai red chilies or siling labuyo
- Banana peppers - Also called siling haba in the Philippines. This gives the sauce a nice aroma and a hint of tang.
- Brown sugar - Brings all the ingredients together by balancing out all the flavors.
Water is often added to vinegar dipping sauce to dilute the intensity of the vinegar's flavor and acidity. It helps balance the taste and make the sauce more palatable.
Additionally, adding water can also help adjust the consistency of the sauce, making it easier to dip and ensuring it coats the food evenly. The amount of water added can vary depending on personal preference and the desired level of tanginess in the sauce.
What types of vinegar are good for sukang sawsawan?
There are many types of vinegar but these are the ones I recommend:
- cane vinegar
- distilled vinegar
- white wine vinegar
- coconut vinegar
- rice vinegar (I recommend the manuka brand)
Noticed that I didn't include apple cider vinegar in the list. I find its smell and flavor are too overpowering to make it as a dipping sauce. But if you must use it, combine it with a milder vinegar to dilute
How to Make It
To prepare sukang sawsawan, begin by finely chopping the onions, garlic, and chilies. If you prefer a milder flavor, consider removing or discarding some of the chili seeds to reduce the spiciness.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl or a tall jar if you're making a big batch. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let the sauce stand for around 20 to 30 minutes, best overnight. This will marinate the raw onions and will make the sauce even more flavorful!
Taste before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed–add more sugar if you want it sweeter or salt/ fish sauce (patis) if you want it saltier.
That is it! Easy peasy!
Shelf Life and Storage
This vinegar dipping sauce can last up to 3 months if refrigerated properly.
Store in an air-tight glass tall jar or bottle. Refrigerate to keep the flavor fresh. Remember it should be air-tight as the onion smell can get stronger the longer it marinates.
Uses for this spiced vinegar dipping sauce
Filipino vinegar dipping sauce, also known as "sawsawan," is a versatile condiment that complements a wide variety of dishes.
Here are some popular options to serve with this Filipino vinegar dipping sauce:
Lumpiang Gulay or Filipino Vegetable spring rolls - Also known as lumpiang togue, are often served with vinegar dipping sauce. Whether you're serving vegetable lumpia, pork lumpia, or shrimp lumpia, the sauce adds a delightful tanginess that complements the flavors of the rolls.
Pork Adobo - Adobo is a well-known Filipino dish made with meat (usually pork or chicken) marinated and cooked in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and spices. Serving adobo with vinegar dipping sauce adds an extra layer of acidity and enhances the flavors of the dish.
Grilled or Fried Meat - Sukang sawsawan pairs well with popular Filipino grilled items such as pork BBQ skewers, and chicken inasal.
Grilled Fish and Seafood: Filipino vinegar dipping sauce can also be served with grilled seafood like grilled squid, prawns, or scallops and grilled fish like bangus (milkfish). It provides a tangy contrast to the natural sweetness of the seafood.
Filipino breakfast favorites such as chicken tocino, beef tapa, pork tocino and longganisa. These dishes often have sweet or savory flavors. The vinegar dipping sauce, with its tangy and acidic taste, helps cut through the richness and balances the overall flavor profile of the dish.
Steamed Vegetables - If you're looking for a lighter option, you can serve steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or kangkong (water spinach) with vinegar dipping sauce. It adds a zesty flavor and makes the vegetables more exciting.
Remember, Filipino vinegar dipping sauce is customizable to your taste preferences. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your liking by adding more chili for spiciness or adjusting the ratio of vinegar to water for acidity.
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Sukang Sawsawan–Vinegar Dipping Sauce
- 25 oz Airtight Glass Jar with Lid for small batch
- 50 oz Airtight Glass Jar with Lid for big batch
- ½ cup cane vinegar (see note 1 for substitutes)
- 2 tablespoon water (add more as needed)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce/ patis
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar (packed, add more if preferred)
- 1 small red onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ teaspoon whole black pepper
- red or green chilies (chopped, to taste)
- salt (to taste)
BIG BATCH TO KEEP
- 2 cup cane vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 4 teaspoon fish sauce/patis
- 2 ½ tablespoon brown sugar (add more if needed)
- 1 large red onion (finely chopped)
- 1 whole garlic (finely chopped)
- 2-3 pieces green chilies (siling haba) (to taste)
- 2 teaspoon whole black pepper
- red chili (to taste)
- salt (to taste)
- In a small bowl, add all ingredients. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Do a taste test. Add more salt, sugar, or black pepper based on preference. Note that the water will help lessen the sourness. Use less, if preferred.
- Pour in an airtight glass container and keep in the fridge until needed.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Vinegar options: distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar, coconut vinegar, and rice vinegar (I recommend the manuka brand).
- Storage: This sauce can be made days ahead. Store in an air-tight glass jar or bottle. Refrigerate to keep the flavor fresh. Remember it should be air-tight as the onion smell can get stronger the longer it marinates.
- Variation: add diced cucumbers.
- Serving: calculation is based on the small batch ingredients
- Shelf-life: This can last up to 3 months if refrigerated properly.
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I made the big batch and kept it in the fridge. It's so good with lumpiang gulay and fried pork belly.
This recipe is a keeper! Salamat 🙂
Hi do we need fish sauce as I am missing that ingredient?
Riverten Kitchen (Mella) says
You can substitute with salt. Start with just a pinch then adjust based on your preference.
I know this is traditionally done with red onion, but I only have white on hand. Can I substitute? And should I adjust the other ingredients for taste?
Yes, you can also use white onion. And you can definitely adjust to taste.