I love chilli in any shape or form. Fresh chillies, chilli oil, smoked chillies, chilli powder, chilli flakes, dried chillies, jalapeño, Scotch bonnet, habanero, bird’s eye… Well, you get the idea. So it follows that the my favourite sauce would be a… yes, chilli sauce. But it has to be hot; supermarket sweet chilli sauce does nothing for me. My favourite shop-bought hot sauce is Sriracha, which I buy in bulk because I am genuinely afraid withdrawal symptoms will set in if I don’t get my daily fix. Let’s not find out if I’m right. A more recent contender for best shop-bought chilli sauce (well, chutney) is one I was introduced to by my lovely friend Karen Marie: SimplyaddChilli, a Scottish chilli/strawberry chutney that is out of this world. Thank you for feeding my habit, Karen!
However, as with all food, nothing beats making your own. I have tried quite a few chilli sauce recipes over the years and so far, these two sauces, created by two very different cooks, are my favourites. The first is a sauce from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking, which I first bought as a paperback but soon realised I had to have in an (out of print) hardback version I ordered second-hand from Amazon. The second one is Nigella Lawson’s Jumbo Chilli sauce from Kitchen, which is my easily my most-used book of hers. Both recipes are easy to miss; Nigella’s is one of three recipes in a section about sauces, and Madhur’s is part of her ‘scrambled eggs with spicy tomatoes’, the sauce being the spicy toms.
The Jumbo Chilli Sauce seems to be more Mexican/Latin American in origin, while the Spicy Tomatoes are, as Madhur Jaffrey says, decidly Indian. Both have different uses: the thinner Jumbo sauce will work as dip, relish and will zing up any fried, roasted or boiled vegetable. The thicker Spicy Tomatoes are perfect for scrambling eggs in (as in the book) or to put in an omelette. What they have in common (apart for some overlap in ingredients), it that they both make excellent pasta sauces.
You can find Nigella Lwason;s recipe on her website