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Hot and Spicy Chraimeh Sauce

By Judith Hausman, Urban Farm contributor

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Photo by Judith Hausman

Tangy chraimeh sauce reinvigorates leftovers.

This week is Passover so it’s fitting to share a recipe for chraimeh sauce. It’s not a traditional or symbolic food for the holiday, but the tangy sauce is associated with Tripolitan (Libyan) Jewish cuisine. The flavors are Arab and Mediterranean, as is much of Spanish/North African/Italian Jewish cooking.

Tuna steaks, or a whole sea bass even, are wonderful and impressive simmered in chraimeh but here I’ve used it to grace and enhance some humble leftover salmon. I think it would improve leftover cooked shrimp, boneless chicken, boiled potatoes or tofu, too. 

In this version, I used a roasted red pepper from a jar, but tomato paste is more typical. In season, try a large, fresh, de-seeded tomato or a fresh, roasted red bell pepper and decrease the water a little. For a full meal, serve the dish with a salad of tender spring greens, such as arugula or mache, a cucumber salad or asparagus.

Garnish the plate with slices of lemon and sprigs of cilantro. I added some minced preserved lemon to the sauce as well and reduced the salt.

Adapted from Jerusalem (Ten Speed Press, 2012) by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

Servings: 4


  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground caraway or 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • a good shake of cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 moderately hot green chile, de-seeded
  • 1 large roasted red pepper or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive or canola)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, whir all ingredients up to, and including, the roasted pepper or tomato paste to form a thick paste. 

Then, heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the paste briefly, taking care not to burn it. 

Finally, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer briefly to thicken. 

Read more of Locavore Recipes »

Give us your opinion on Hot and Spicy Chraimeh Sauce.
Submit Comment »
Sounds yummy!
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 8/22/2014 11:22:30 PM
Was so good I came back to print the recipe. That way I'll have it at my finger tips in the kitchen.
Chas, Brewster, NY
Posted: 5/13/2014 7:19:48 AM
This looks yummy - I will give it a try this weekend!
Jean, Framingham, MA
Posted: 4/16/2014 5:28:24 PM

About the Blogger

Judith Hausman

Judith Hausman
As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City 'burbs.

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