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A Guide to Curry Hot Sauces

A Guide to Curry Hot Sauces

These sauces share the complex blend of spices originating from India, including coriander, cumin, and turmeric. With their bold and distinctive spices, they tend to be more specific-use sauces rather than versatile all-purpose types, but I think that sells them a bit short. They're great for making boring food of all types more interesting - curry sauces are my go-to when I have some leftovers that lack life and need a little something extra.

A few fun facts: the word Curry originates from the Tamil word for sauce, so calling something a 'Curry sauce' may be a bit redundant. The curry powder blends common today are largely a Western creation with roots in the Indian spice blend Garam Masala. Before the 1600s, chiles were not available in India, so Indian curries got their 'heat' from black pepper and ginger instead. After the Colombian exchange, chile peppers made their way to India and were quickly integrated into the food. For tons more info on Curry, I highly recommend Alton Brown's Good Eats episode called the Curious Case of Curry. 

  • Entube Curry Paste (new!)
    A concentrated blend of curry spices in a tube, this stuff works great as marinade. There's no vinegar, no sweet ingredients, just straight-up curry spices. Fennel and acerola berries stand out as a bit different than your typical curry, and cayenne gives it just the slightest bit of heat.

  • Paul's Haba Haba
    One of my favorite curry style sauces, it has mangos, mustard, and a vibrant blend of spices. Less heavy on the ginger, more heavy on the black pepper and turmeric. The ingredients are similar to the next sauce, Wuju, with the main distinctions being that Haba Haba is spicier, thicker, and less sweet.

  • Wuju Hot Sauce
    Probably pretty well known around here because of their exposure onthe front page, Wuju is a great sweet curry sauce. In addition to mango and mustard, it has agave and orange juice. I prefer the Extra Hot, because the original barely has any heat in my book, but both are very full of flavor.

  • Bandar Spicy Mango
    This is not your typical mango hot sauce, or even your typical curry hot sauce. The mango has been pickled, so it's not sweet, it's funky and salty. And it doesn't have the classic cumin or turmeric flavors of curry powder - instead, the pickled mango is backed up by Asafoetida and fenugreek. Made in India, the only thing separating this from traditional Mango Pickle (achaar) is that it's pureed rather than chunky. If you're looking to add an authentic twang to homemade curries, this is a great way to go, but otherwise it's probably the least versatile of the bunch.

  • Boom Shanka Chipotle Curry
    To be honest, when I first heard of this sauce, I was skeptical. I don't usually think of curries pairing well with smoky flavors, and it just seemed like an odd combo. But Jeremy worked his magic on this one, and it's totally amazing. I'd say the curry is the dominant flavor here, with a strong smoky component that doesn't overpower. I've killed a half bottle of this stuff with a bag of tortilla chips. The heat is mild but it just tastes so good.

  • Fat Cat Caribbean Curry
    The addition of Allspice is what provides the Caribbean influence of this sauce, and the combo works really well. This would be at home on jerk chicken just as much as on Indian samosas, and it's surprisingly good on pizza too.

So, what's your favorite curry sauce?

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