It's no secret that I cook lots of CHILI PEPPERS, the secret ingredient for this month's Weekend Wokking challenge, as chosen by last month's host, Marija of Palachinka. It's not so much for me, but because my family can't get enough of my Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Sauce).
Youngest aunt was just telling me that she was on the phone with oldest aunt, who raved about the jar of chili sauce I gave her for Christmas. Youngest aunt then strongly hinted that she needed some more too.
Cousin T was quite happy when I gave her a jar during Christmas. Apparently, her parents refused to share any of the chili sauce I had given them the year before. :P
But obviously, the chili pepper has a lot more uses than simply in sauces. The half dozen recipes for this month's challenge in alphabetical order are...
Cheese and Chili Balls by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) in Italy. In this case, the first entry alphabetically was also the first entry I received. Graziana grows a variety of chili peppers and added them to gouda and cottage cheeses for a quick, no-cook appetizer. The balls were served on lettuce leaves from her garden, but she also suggested spreading the mixture on toasted bread.
Chili Pepper Water by Kits Chow in Vancouver, British Columbia. Just look at that lovely color! This garlicky, vinegary, spicy water can be sprinkled over food. I imagine this would go great over steak or potatoes or anything really. The link also has her recipes for chili oil and a chili salt blend.
Indonesian Beef Rendang by Wandering Chopsticks. I chose to submit this dry curry recipe because although chili pepper is just one ingredient in a list of many, it adds a subtle spicy note to the coconut and lemongrass flavors.
Mayan Hot Chocolate by Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf, in Bangalore, India. I've long heard that the Mayans added chili peppers to their hot cocoa, but haven't really been tempted to try until I saw this recipe. Perhaps because it's not just chili and cocoa, but also includes cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Spice-spicy and hot-spicy cocoa sounds wonderful.
Salsa Romesco (Queen of the Catalan Sauces) by TS & JS of Eating Club Vancouver, British Columbia. This sister duo has always submitted some of the most intriguing recipes and this time is no different. This blend of chili, garlic, nuts, and tomatoes reminds me of mole sauce. The fact that guests thought it tasted like a peanut sauce or shrimp paste makes it a mystery sauce to try.
And last, but certainly not least, is Sambal Bajak by Sijeleng of Javaholic in Northern California. I like the sound of this mild chili sauce that's tempered with coconut milk, shallots, garlic, sugar, and candlenuts. He suggested serving it with chicken or as a dip.
Thank you everyone for participating and for submitting such great recipes.
The secret ingredient for next month is the...
Brown onions. White onions. Yellow onions. Red onions. Maui onions. Walla Walla onions. Heck, even green onions ie. scallions. Just not garlic or leeks. Those other alliums will have to wait for their own Weekend Wokking. ;)
Your host for next month is Christine of Kits Chow. Please send entries by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, February 28 to kitschow (at) gmail (dot) com .
1 year ago today, beef udon stir-fry and pork chop rice at Dim Sum Express - Monterey Park.
2 years ago today, Banh Mi Hot Ga Op La (Vietnamese French Bread with Sunny-side Up Eggs).
3 years ago today, the golden crocus and primroses and Punxsutawney Phil says spring is coming.