Spicy Sauce Recipes

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Tương Muối Ớt Lá Chanh (Spicy Lime Dipping Sauce Recipe) Recipe

In Vietnamese, "tương muối ớt lá chanh" would literally translate to "sauce salt chile lime leaves". It's a spicy sauce I came up with by using the kaffir lime leaves from our garden. They're so fragrant and very useful in Asian cuisine. I usually use them for making broth, but this time, I blended them with fresh green chiles, coarse sea salt, garlic, limes and a little sugar to balance the flavor of the sauce. I used it as a spicy dipping sauce for crab that I simply steamed. 

It's crab season so I stocked up on a lot of crabs that I cracked and stored in sealable bags for making crab cakes and soups in the future. 

If you have the space to plant a kaffir lime tree and you're into Asian cooking, go for it; it's a good investment. Plus the plant doesn't take too much space and it's almost maintenance-free.


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Habanero Chile Garlic Sauce Recipe Recipe

Everyone who likes spicy food and has tasted this sauce says it would sell very quickly. If you've followed our family's culinary adventures, you may know how much Daddy (my father-in-law) loves anything spicy. My husband Lulu planted Habanero chiles in planters last summer and Daddy made several jars so we could enjoy the chiles all the way through the winter. Daddy came up with a very easy but flavorful recipe for chile garlic sauce. Simply combine the same proportion of fresh garlic and Habanero chiles and complete with white vinegar, a touch of salt and sugar.

You can enjoy it as a condiment on the side like Daddy does, or I've also added half a teaspoon of the spicy mixture in sauces, dressings and marinades. It adds a pleasant, spicy zing to just about any dish.


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Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe Recipe

Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe

02.26.11 by Jackie

I just learned how to make a variant of mirchi ka salan by Sheerin Auntie, who came to visit us during winter break week. This version is made with only white sesame seeds and originated from the region of Lucknow (Lakhnau) where Abbi, my husband Lulu's late grandfather was born. The previous version was taught by Baji (Lulu's late grandmother); they lived in Hyderabad where mirchi ka salan is made with peanut, fresh coconut and sesame.

The sesame seed variant is quite a bit milder. The sesame seeds are blended into a thick paste (tahini), then added to cumin-flavored oil (baghar). Whole chile peppers are cooked in the sesame mixture until softened. A drizzle of lemon juice finishes the dish. It's as simple as that. Prior to cooking the mirchi ("chiles" in Urdu), I had to be brave and estimate the level of spiciness of the peppers. If the heat is too fiery, you could cut a longitudinal slit and remove the seeds and more of the sesame sauce will enter in the cavity of the chiles for a milder taste.


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Khatta Recipe: Indian Sesame and Tamarind Sauce Recipe

Khatta is an Indian condiment that is generally served as an accompaniment to khichdi (coral lentil basmati rice). Unlike raita (Indian yogurt sauce) or chutneys, khatta has a thin consistency. Toasted sesame seeds are ground into a thick paste (tahini) and mixed with green chiles and tamarind. The sauce is then diluted with water and mixed with thinly sliced onions. The finishing touch is the usual top layer of baghar, which consists of fried garlic, cumin seeds, curry leaves and dried chiles.

The recipe was provided by Lulu's aunt, Sheerin Auntie, who is an amazing, gifted cook. Love is the most important ingredient that is required in any dish, and she has it in boundless quantities. She has agreed to teach me several Indian dishes that I've been wanting to learn, and of course, I'll share them with you once I know them well. Thank you, Sheerin Auntie for teaching me so many valuable lessons, culinary and otherwise.


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Ca Kho (Braised Catfish in Vietnamese Fish Sauce) Recipe

Cá kho tộ ("braised fish" in Vietnamese) is delicious catfish simmered in a caramelized sauce with garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce and red chiles. What I love most about the dish is eating steamed jasmine rice with the sauce made with coconut soda.

I love seafood, but the vegetarians in my home aren't always happy with the aroma of fish wafting through the house. Braising fish in nước mắm gives a strong smell to this dish, so I don't make it very often, even though I love it.


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