Today was grocery day, and I headed off early in the morning to visit my favorite local grocery store – Cosmo, it is such a friendly place! I went early because it can get crowded, and it was, as always, such a pleasant shopping experience. From the garage guy who cheerfully waved me through, to the lady at the bakery who served my bread and pastries, to the helpful staff of the deli – the man who got my order, and the lady who double-checked that I was being waited on – to the polite woman at the spice stall who answered all my questions, then told me that she was happy to meet me and to have a nice day. (btw.. What is vanilla powder? I do not know, but could not resist getting a couple of scoops so I can experiment! I also found baking soda and powder in bulk… how cool is that?) The frozen foods area by the butchery was being remodeled... they were walling things off as I got there… and I needed the milk behind the barrier! Unlike another store I won’t mention today, was I out of luck? Ignored and disrespected? No way! There was a staff member stocking a nearby aisle and he went right over and cheerfully brought me all the milk I needed. Then, I finished it all up with an efficient cashier, and a bagger who did not squish the bread or break the breakables… what’s not to love?
So what does this have to do with Easter eggs?? When I was at the deli, where I had to get a new stash of ‘squeaky’ cheese (Halloumi - which does not melt when grilled, so makes a tasty side dish. Served in small quantities – it is salty!), I also picked out a chunk of feta cheese and a small dish of labneh (yogurt cheese balls) with herbs and spice. While I was waiting for my order, I wandered over to look at the selection of olives (so hard to resist those!) and ready made salads… and there it was… the hot sauce I adore! A whole bowl of it. It was labeled “Hot Pepper” in the display, and on my take-away container, but that doesn’t really help me. What is it? How do I get the recipe? It looks like a thick, deeper red, Thai chili sauce, but it is not sweet like the Thai stuff. To me Thai chili sauce is like sweet&sour with just a hint of chili… it’s very good, but it’s NOT the sauce I love. The “Hot Pepper” seems to be made of ground red chili peppers – skins, seeds, and all – perhaps a bit of oil, salt, and perhaps a hint of sugar. It’s HOT, but it is sooooo yummy! I’ve had similar sauces in Chinese restaurants (in the US and Egypt), and I’ve eaten it with local foods in Egypt as well. We were invited to Iftar dinner, which is the breaking of the fast at Ramadhan, with the guards in our garage one night, and they had this sauce to go along with rice and chicken. They warned me away from it, saying it was “too hot”. I explained that I was raised on my dad’s homemade chilis and I would probably love it… I was right. The next few times that we dined with these guards, there was a huge bowl of the sauce… the man who’d brought it to the meal had told his wife, and she made extra, just because I’d liked it so much!
You know I didn’t resist buying some this morning – I was sane and kept the amount small, knowing that it will only be me to eat it. I brought my lovely fire sauce home, and for lack of anything to serve it with for lunch, I put it in the fridge. I started making up an simple egg salad for my meal – I used the last two Easter eggs, one colored orange, yellow and red with a dragon drawn with crayon, how appropriate?? When I reached for the salt and pepper, I automatically grabbed the chili powder and parsley as well… and then inspiration struck. Heh heh! Chili sauce! To heck with the powder! Let’s just say, my eggs were so good the dish was sparking!
I am lucky to have found a supplier for my lovely condiment of choice, but I would really love to know how to make it! I don’t think I can Google “Hot Pepper” or “Hot Pepper Chili” and have much luck… or rather, I wouldn’t have much ‘specific’ help, there’d be too much! Does anyone have any ideas? Again, it is a thick, almost paste-like sauce (a bit runnier, with oil). It looks like whole, unseeded red chilis were run through a food processor. I can’t place the oil as it takes on the flavor of the spice… it’s a very light oil. It is slightly salty, and slightly sweet.