Hot and Spicy Chraimeh Sauce
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
- 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.
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