Hot, Hot, Hot: Spicy Condiments from Around the World

Check out 8 delicious ways to spice up your hot sauce repertoire (and where to find them in your supermarket).

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Sriracha (Thailand)

How to Say It: Sir-rotch-ah or sear-raw-chah

Named after the place it was first made (Si Racha, Thailand), this super-trendy thick red hot sauce is a blend of chile peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar. Nicknamed “rooster sauce” by wasabi fans, it’s quite versatile and can be used as a dipping sauce. You can also use it on eggs, burgers and pizza — or pretty much anywhere you’d use regular hot sauce.

Find It: In the international aisle or with bottled hot sauces

 

By Nicole Cherie Jones

Harissa (Morocco/Tunisia/North Africa)

This oily, garlicky chile paste includes coriander seed, caraway and cumin. It’s very spicy, so a little goes a long way. Use it to liven up lamb stew, couscous or roasted veggies, or rub it on meats and fish before grilling. It also makes a yummy sandwich spread if you stir it with mayo.

Find It: In a tube or jar in the international aisle

Gochujang (Korea)

How to Say It: GO-chew-jong

Pungent and deeply flavored, this sticky, fermented chile paste has a sweet-hot-sour taste. It's used in everything from barbecue meat marinades to bibimbap, dipping sauces and salad dressings.

Find It: In a tub in the international or Asian aisle

Wasabi (Japan)

Fresh wasabi (a type of Japanese horseradish) isn’t available in the United States, but it is easily found as a paste. The spicy flavor is similar to horseradish, but stronger (which means more than a tiny pinch will give you a serious nose rush). You’ve probably seen it served with sushi, but it’s also good in sauces, marinades and dressings.

Find It: In a tube in the international or Asian aisle

Chili Oil (China)

While chili oil — basically just vegetable oil infused with hot chile peppers — is a common ingredient in all kinds of Asian recipes, it really shines as the secret ingredient in many Szechuan Chinese dishes. It’s also served as a condiment in dim sum or noodle joints, and it's easy to DIY at home.

Find It: In a bottle in the international or Asian aisle

Jerk (Jamaica)

The stars here are allspice (which Jamaicans call "pimento") and ultra-hot Scotch bonnet peppers, with a supporting cast of cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic and salt. Traditionally used to flavor pork and chicken, it’s also amazing on fish (or pretty much any meat!).

Find It: As a dry seasoning blend with spices, or as a bottled sauce in the international aisle or with hot sauces

Giardiniera (Italy)

How to Say It: Jar-din-air-ah

This classic Italian relish is a piquant blend of crunchy, pickled veggies — typically carrots, cauliflower, celery, pickles, onions and jalapenos. Also called "sottaceti," which means "under vinegar,” giardiniera is traditionally served with antipasto platters (an appetizer with cured meats, cheese and other pickled veggies), on salads or in subs — especially hot beef.


Find It: In a jar in the pickle section

Piri-Piri (Portugal/South Africa)

How to Say It: Pee-ree pee-ree

Aka peri-peri, this sauce is named for its main ingredient — a tiny, extremely spicy chile pepper from Africa — blended with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and sometimes herbs or sweet smoked paprika. Use it as a marinade or sauce for grilled chicken or seafood.


Find It: This one hasn’t quite made its way to American grocery stores yet, but you can DIY or buy it online.

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