Sauces of the world
Sriracha has been the hot sauce of choice for a few years, but it’s not right for every occasion. These ones deserve space in your cupboard too
Chipotle in Adobo (£4, Cool Chile Co) is made of smoke-dried jalapenos in a tangy tomato and vinegar sauce. The smoky and woody flavour packs some heat, but has plenty of balance. It’s delicious brushed on meat, fish or corn on the cob before grilling, or mix it with mayonnaise to make a fiery Marie Rose-style sauce.
Indian ghost pepper sauce
Chilli heat is measured in Scoville heat units – the original red Tabasco measures 2,500-5,000, while the appropriately named Extreme Bhut Jolokia (£6, South Devon Chilli Farm) clocks in at a whopping 300,000-500,000. Reviewers say it’s “like eating molten lava” but gives a great kick to vindaloos and veggie burgers.
Southeast Asian sambal
Similar to sriracha but less acidic, sambal oelek (£3.30, Sous Chef) is used in Malaysian, Indonesian and Sri Lankan cooking to add heat without affecting the overall flavour of a dish. It’s traditionally made with three ingredients – red chillis, vinegar and salt – so you can make your own using a pestle and mortar.
Think of gochujang hot pepper paste (£3.59, Japan Centre) as like a spicy miso – it has a thick texture and the fermented soybeans give it a distinct umami flavour. Use the paste to punch up soups and stews, or opt for this squeezy bottle version to use as a condiment and for giving a sweet spice to hummus.
Harissa has a complex depth of flavour, rather than extreme heat. Harry Brand (£2.95, Harry Brand) on London’s Columbia Road gets its harissa from France, where it’s made using a secret Tunisian family recipe passed down through generations. Use it to spice up poached eggs, as a rub for seared tuna steaks, or with melted butter on popcorn.