Recipe: Bang Bang Sauce (Laotian Sour Sauce)

Laotian Bang Bang Sauce Recipe

When you think of bang bang sauce, you may be picturing a creamy, pinkish, mayonnaise-based concoction. This version brought to us by recipe developer Miriam Hahn is the Laotian-version of the sauce that is served at New York's hot spot, Khe-Yo, which is known for its spicy dishes served with style.

"This sauce really has a kick," Hahn says, "and can liven up a wide variety of dishes." The Thai chilis are responsible for the heat, and we do mean heat. This sauce can be used in rice and ramen, and on meats and roasted vegetables. We think it would also complement this vegetable stir fry recipe.

Hahn says "It works well as a marinade, and I also like it as a spicy dip with raw vegetables." If you have a mortar and pestle, that works well here, but no worries if you don't, since a food processor will work just fine.

Gather the ingredients for the Laotian bang bang sauce

For this recipe, you will need Thai chilis, garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. If you can't find Thai chilis, or want to tame the spice down, you can substitute it with serrano peppers. The fish sauce is pretty easy to get, and if you want to make a vegan-friendly version of this sauce, you can buy vegan fish sauce, or use soy sauce for a slightly different flavor.

Prepare the chilis, garlic and cilantro

The Thai chilis are easy to work with in this case, since we are leaving the seeds intact. Trim off the stems, and roughly chop them. Thai chiles can be red or green, depending on when they were harvested, and either color will be acceptable. In addition, roughly chop the cilantro, and mince the garlic. 

Blend and serve the sauce

If you are using a mortar and pestle, crush the chilis, garlic, and sugar until a rough paste forms, about 3 to 4 minutes. Then, stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and cilantro. If you are using a food processor, add everything to it, and pulse about 10 times until a roughly chopped paste forms. "I like to use a smaller sized food processor for this because you won't have enough volume of sauce to adequately blend [it] in a large 11 or 14-cup food processor. If you end up doubling the sauce, a large food processor will work," Hahn remarks. The sauce stores well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Classic Laotian Bang Bang Sauce Recipe
4.5 from 46 ratings
This Laotian-inspired recipe is not your average bang bang sauce — spicy, sweet, and sour with a little bit of funk.
Prep Time
Cook Time
vegetables and sauce on plate
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 8 Thai chilis
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  1. Remove the stems from the Thai chilis, and roughly chop. Mince the garlic cloves, and chop the cilantro.
  2. Add the Thai chilis, garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice to a small food processor. Pulse the food processor about 10 times to break down the mixture.
  3. If using a mortar and pestle, crush the chilis, garlic, and sugar until a rough paste forms, about 3 to 4 minutes. Then, stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, and cilantro. Serve, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Calories per Serving 37
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 7.2 g
Sodium 943.8 mg
Protein 0.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe