While we generally enjoy spicy foods year round, the time feels right to invigorate our taste buds with something fiery.
Fair warning: These recipes are not for the delicate palate. They are bold. They are flavorful. They are spicy.
(Another warning: If you’re the type who keeps buckets of dried chiles and various hot sauces in constant rotation, then you may find you want to add more spice to these tasty dishes, to which we say: Go for it.)
Malaysian Shrimp Curry, above. Here’s a simple curry to add to your repertoire — it gets heat from one teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and is thickened with ground macadamia nuts. Serve with rice, flatbread or anything to soak up the delightful sauce.
Spicy Basil Eggplant With Dates and Cashews. It’s spicy, thanks to a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper (it packs a punch, that stuff!). The spice is toned down ever so slightly by sweet, chewy Medjool dates.
Sriracha-Roasted Cauliflower. This recipe yields cauliflower pieces that are crispy on the edges and spicy, thanks to plenty of Sriracha. For more of a Buffalo-style heat, try Roasted Cauliflower With Butter + Hot Sauce.
Spicy Red Pepper and Chickpea Soup. Featuring chickpeas blended into a smooth soup and roasted to go on top. The spice comes from a generous spike of your favorite hot sauce.
Arbol Salsa. Often times the smaller the object, the more punch it packs; such is the case with the thin, bright red chile de arbol, which, says chef, cookbook author and television host Pati Jinich, has a somewhat nutty flavor. Here you’ll toast several in oil before adding cumin, tomatillos, garlic, water, salt and a little vinegar. Use the spicy condiment on tacos, chilaquiles or any dish that needs a kick.
Roasted Tomato Dipping Sauce (Jeow Marg Len). Here’s a tangy Laotian condiment to add to your larder, with plenty of heat from Thai red peppers, plus depth and bite from garlic and fish sauce. You’ll notice the recipe calls for pounding the mixture in a large mortar and pestle (so the sauce is textured and chunky, rather than smooth) — if you don’t have one, use a fork and/or wooden spoon to smash it all together in a mixing bowl, rather than pulsing in a food processor.
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