Someone very wise once said, “If your Grandma can’t pronounce it, then don’t use it in your kitchen.” However, on this now overly-fast-paced planet, chock-full of supermarkets filled with aisles stacked to the brim with pre-packaged flavor enhancers and hot sauces of every kind from every place that could only be made available to our taste buds because of artificial additives to increase shelf life, such as potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfate, and xantham gum (that would have Grandma rolling in her grave) this is a mantra that most busy people, especially in our country, would find very difficult to live by. Although we strive to use as many organic whole food ingredients in our own cooking and eating as possible, I doubt we would ever be able to completely give up Sriracha Hot Sauce because it is so convenient as well as tasty on so many edible things. But little did we know that in a hot and dry desert nearly 13,000 miles from home on the backside of a sand dune during a setting sun we would learn a recipe for a hot sauce that would change the face of hot sauces forever, and it’s a recipe that we now want to share with you.
Sauce…it’s where the secret of the flavor always lies, and sauce alone can mean the difference between mediocre and fantastic in mostly any meal, whether it be eggs, pastas, tacos, rice dishes, you name it. The cheapest, most basic, and surprisingly scrumptious Indian dish, eaten daily by millions of Indians as well as budget travelers, is the Thali plate. Thali, which actually means “plate” in Hindi, is composed, in its most basic form, of Dahl (lentil soup), stewed vegetables, a pile of rice, and chapati (Indian flatbread), and a chili or pickle sauce of some kind, classically served on a partitioned metal plate. Multi-day camelback camping trips in the desert call for simple food measures, and this is what we basically ate for 6 of our 8 meals during our three-day, two-night adventure into the Thar Desert, located in the western-most region of the state of Rajasthan, which shares India’s border with Pakistan. We were extremely fortunate that we had awesome guides during our trip who knew a few secrets about local Rajasthani cooking, which is notorious for its unique deep flavors and tantalizing spice. Although our lunches and dinners were all of the basic description mentioned above, every one of these meals was cooked with fresh ingredients and lots of love, each time on an open flame in the middle of the hot, dusty desert. In addition to the basic Thali, our desert guides cooked us an amazing hot sauce to spice things up a bit, and this hot sauce alone has made their Thali plate the current one to beat in all of India, at least in my book.
We proudly admit that we are committed foodies, and so it goes without saying that upon discovery of the tastiness of this hot sauce, we insisted that our guides teach us how to prepare this magic flavor so that we could add it to our personal cooking repertoire. They were more than willing to share their recipe with us, and so without further ado, here is the recipe to perhaps one of the world’s tastiest hot sauces. We are so grateful to our guides at Trotter’s for teaching us this recipe, and we hope that you will make and share this authentic Rajasthani recipe with all of your family and friends! Happy cooking!
- 1 red onion
- Handful of green or red chili peppers
- 2 tablespoons oil (virgin coconut oil is probably your healthiest bet)
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves (or more!)
- Cumin seeds
- Turmeric powder
- Red chili powder
- Fresh green onion
- Coriander powder
- 1.5 cups water
- ~1 tablespoon of salt
- Heat oil in a small sauce pot, and then add cumin seeds
- Add medium-chopped onion and chopped green chilis to pot, stirring with a spoon
- Add chopped garlic as well as 1 chopped tomato to pot. Continue to stir as sauce simmers
- Add turmeric powder, then red chili powder to pot to taste
- Add chopped green onion, and second chopped tomato to pot
- Add a healthy handful of coriander powder to pot
- Add water to pot and bring to a hard boil
- Add salt
- Continue to boil down the sauce, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Sauce should be of an oily and chunky consistency
- Serve with just about anything and take your meals to the next level of taste! Enjoy!