Monday, May 17, 2010

Some like it hot

Salsas picantesImage by saguayo via Flickr

That quick fish taco, scrambled eggs or just about anything else you're eating benefits from a liberal dose of hot and not-so-hot sauces.

We keep several around, notably salsa taquera (hot) -- a teaspoon or so does nicely on your fish taco (leftover fish, tortilla, salsa taquera and 30 to 45 seconds in the microwave). Goya and La Costena both sell salsa taquera, but I prefer the former.

We had haddock cooked in mild Mexican green sauce (salsa verde) for dinner last night, and I used some of the leftovers to make two fish tacos for breakfast, with salsa taquera. A third tortilla got a slice of muenster cheese and some salsa taquera, and 30 seconds in the microwave melted the cheese -- a quick, simple quesadilla.

One of the hottest sauces we use  is Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (the one with the green cap, made in California). You see this sauce on tables at Vietnamese restaurants, including Saigon R in Englewood, but it's really hot, so using too much can ruin your pho. My 13-year-old son loves this sauce on sandwiches.

My favorite all-around sauce is Valentina salsa picante -- thicker, smokier and not as hot as Tabasco-brand sauce and considerably cheaper (second from right in photo above). I buy Valentina in the 34-ounce bottle and use it liberally on eggs, omelets and Jamaican ackee and saltfish. In a pinch, you can use Valentina on your tacos.

H Mart in Little Ferry and other Korean supermarkets carry a dizzying array of hot pepper paste -- the dipping sauce for barbecue or dumplings. They are both spicy and sweet. I usually select one based on a lower price.

Another alternative to Tabasco is Grace-brand hot pepper sauce from Jamaica, marked "very hot," which uses Scotch bonnet or capsicum peppers. A far milder Grace sauce is Fish & Meat Sauce, made with tomato paste, mango puree, cane sugar and cane vinegar.

Mexican and Jamaican sauces are available at Hackensack Market on Passaic Street. ShoRite also carries some Mexican sauces.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. Answer me this: How is it you can go to a restaurant and pay $31 for four scallops -- add in the tax and tip and that's nine bucks a scallop -- and then go to the supermarket and save a buck or two on hot sauce? My personal favorite is Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce, the bottle where you have to sign a waiver promising not to sue if you use too much. I used to put a drop or three in a curry dish made with instant couscous back in the day when I cooked and didn't eat Fairway takeout most of the time the time. Nevertheless, your knowledge of the wide array of hot peppers is impressive. Keep up the good work.
    P.S. When are you gonna check out the little hole in the wall Indian takeout place on the west side of Main Street in Hackensack toward the end of the block up from Atlantic Street? They have a selection of vegetarian dishes.

  2. I hadn't noticed that Indian place. Too many holes in the wall, too little time. There are several new ones in Englewood, too.


Please try to stay on topic.