Blank Slate Kitchen Sichuan Chili Oil
Fragrant Sichuan chili oil is as common in Chinese restaurants as ketchup is in American diners. Blank Slate's Kitchen small-batch rendition pairs the heat of chili with zesty ginger and aromatic shallots and garlic for an especially bright flavor.
Villa Jerada Harissa
Villa Jerada’s Harissa No. 1 is our favorite version of this North African red pepper paste for its bright, complex flavor. While many store-bought varieties have a one-dimensional spicy flavor, this harissa layers acidity and fruitiness with preserved lemons, a touch of vinegar and tomato paste for a lively, tangy condiment. Villa Jerada uses just enough high-quality Moroccan olive oil to make the harissa spreadable and smooth without diluting its flavor, as opposed to conventional brands that contain a high proportion of water and vegetable oil.
Villa Jerada Urfa Pepper
Produced in Turkey, this glossy, deep burgundy-colored chili flake has an earthy, smoky chili flavor, medium spice level and fruity finish with notes of cocoa and tobacco.
Iasa Hot Pepper in Olive Oil
We’re big fans of the defining kick a little chili heat can add to sauces, sandwiches, dressings. These Calabrian peppers pack a punch, but pull short of being incendiary, making them more all purpose than most preserved chilies. A little dab will do you.
Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce
Unlike many habanero-flavored hot sauces that are incendiary hot and over-spiced, Secret Aardvark keeps the heat in check with a little fruity sweetness that falls between Caribbean and Tex-Mex hot sauces. Fruity habanero pairs beautifully with tomatoes, avocado, corn, even melon, making this hot sauce one of our favorite summertime sauces. Try mixing a little with extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of lemon or lime juice for your next tomato salad or toss with mixed melon wedges, cilantro leaves and a little crumbled queso fresco. Or make this the “secret” ingredient in your next batch of guacamole, topping with a handful of crunchy toasted pepitas to temper the spice. And if you’re one of those who likes ketchup on your eggs (we know, its polarizing), Secret Aardvark is a breakfast champion. Matt, our food editor, blows through this sauce at the breakfast table, slathering it on his omelets, scrambles and fried eggs alike, though he thinks it really pairs best with the crispy fried corned beef hash at his local breakfast joint.
Secret Aardvark Serrabanero Green Hot Sauce
The milder, serrano-based cousin of Secret Aardvark’s original habanero hot sauce is a little tangier and sharper than the red sauce. It’ll work anywhere you want heat with a bit of tang—guacamole, beans, eggs, rice, even pasta. If you’re like us, you’ll keep both styles of the Secret Aardvark hot sauces on the table and mix and match to suit.
Pure Indian Foods Organic Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
When venturing into Indian cuisine at home, the bright, distinctive flavor of Kashmiri chili pepper is indispensable. This chili powder's fiery red-orange hue belies its relatively moderate spice—think hot paprika, not cayenne. Pure Indian Foods' product is especially fresh and aromatic, preserving the chili's herbaceous, delicate qualities. Treat this versatile spice like a vibrant paprika or chili powder. Its bright fruity flavor is especially delicious with pork dishes; use it for a simple spice rub with salt and pepper on roast tenderloin.
Auria's Malaysian Kitchen Sambal Set
This set of two Malaysian sambals pack a punch of bold flavor pleasant heat. Hot Chili Sambal has a chili-forward flavor and fire that's balanced between the brightness of fresh peppers and earthiness of dried chilies. In addition to garlic, sugar and vinegar, this small-batch sauce also includes shrimp paste, which contributes umami without a fishy flavor. The sambal has a thick, spreadable consistency and incorporates easily into dips, spreads and sauces. Based on a family recipe, Lime Leaf Sambal is a one-of-a-kind tangy and savory chili paste made with makrut lime leaves and lime juice. The clarifying aroma and complex floral notes of the lime complement the chili peppers' fresh, vibrant quality without making the hot sauce taste overwhelmingly citrusy. The sambal is rounded out with pungent garlic, cane sugar and kosher salt for a savory, balanced condiment that has both the brightness of fresh chilies and the depth of cooked chilies.
Hot Chili Sambal Ingredients: Fresh chilies, dried chilies, canola oil, garlic, cane sugar, fermented shrimp paste, salt, vinegar Lime Leaf Sambal Ingredients: Fresh chilies, dried green peppers, canola oil, garlic, cane sugar, lime juice, kosher salt, makrut lime leaves.
Net Weight: 8 ounces each
Note: Made in a facility that processes soy, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, milk and eggs.
Banhoek Chili Oil
This oil yields clean, bold chili flavor that’s much more punchy and complex than typical store brands, which are often too muted in taste or mask the chili with flavored oil and aromatics. To maintain the integrity of the chili, Banhoek uses premium canola oil, which is flavorless unlike the olive oil often used by other brands, as well as heat induction technology and a 16-step filtration system that lets the sun-dried bird’s eye chilies deeply infuse the oil. Upon opening the bottle, a toasty aroma emerges with an earthy-sweetness reminiscent of high-quality paprika. Once a drop of the rosy-hued oil hits your palate, a clean spice that’s not overwhelming blooms on the tongue—potent and bright. And that bold flavor will keep even weeks after you open the bottle, since Banhoek filters out any bits of chili that could alter the oil’s taste as it ages, making for a consistent, quality pantry staple able to elevate any dish with a dash of fragrant spice.
Mama O's Vegan Kimchi Paste
One of the trickier aspects of making homemade kimchi is getting the right balance of flavors. That's why we were happy to discover Mama's O's Vegan Kimchi Paste, a ready-to-use ingredient unlike anything else on the market—all you need is a head of napa cabbage (or other vegetable) and water. Company founder Kheedim Oh says it best: “All the mixing, measuring, juicing, grinding, chopping and shopping are already done in the jar.” The paste is balanced between savory, salty and spicy flavors and great for more than making kimchi. Use it to marinate meat, season stir-fries or flavor soups.
How to make napa cabbage kimchi:
Make a brine using 1 tablespoon salt per 1 cup water. Chop napa cabbage into 1.25-inch pieces. Submerge in the salt brine and let sit at room temperature overnight (about 8 hours). Drain and rinse well. For about 1 pound of cabbage, use ¼ cup paste and ¼ cup water. Mix well (we recommend using a gloved hand). Transfer to the jar, packing tightly. Cover, ideally with cheese cloth to allow gas to escape, or with a non-airtight lid. Let sit at room temperature for 2 days, or until pickled to your preference. Vent occasionally to release built-up pressure; optionally, place on a plate to catch drips. (Any fermented product will leak through lids as pressure builds.)
- Net Weight: 6 ounces
- Ingredients: Red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, sugar, lime juice, water, salt
Jook Jang Yeon Ganjang
A Korean iteration of soy sauce, this condiment originating from the Gyeongsang Province is crafted with exceptional care using traditional techniques. It’s simmered in a gamasot (large iron pot) for six hours with kelp and jujube, which gives the sauce a slightly more decadent consistency. It has soy sauce’s signature hit of umami nuttiness, yet there is a rounder, more distinct depth. There’s also a slight lingering sweetness akin to dark chocolate, which is brought out by the more salty and savory notes. The overall effect is exceptional richness of flavor and intriguing complexity. While cheaper brands generally all taste the same: flat, salty, savory, and one-note, the complex and subtleties of this ganjang really stand-out as especially beautiful and complex.
Jook Jang Yeon Gochujang
Made from chili pepper, sweet rice, malt and malt syrup and fermented for at least six months months in traditional crocks, Gochujang is basically a household name at this point. You can buy (crappy) bottles and jars of it at Walmart. But the important thing is to differentiate between the cheap, mass-produced versions and these top-quality versions. While most gochujangs on the market are thick, but will drip off your spoon, this one is more like a glossy ganache—spreadable and scoopable, yet decadently thick. It's clean and complex—a wonderful fruity chili flavor is the star, while it's rounded out with funky fermentation notes and a pleasant tingly heat. There's also a hint of effervescence akin to sake, or even a sparkling wine. Its sweetness is round and balanced, not sticky like most brands.
Jook Jang Yeon Doenjang
This fermented soybean paste is made by steeping barley in water for 10 hours before it’s steamed, mixed with soy beans and aged for three years in earthenware pots exposed to the changing seasons. The resulting paste is rich in umami, with a deep nutty-cocoa powder-like taste and incredible clean, clear savory flavor. The thick paste is punctuated with tender flecks of soy or barley grains and has a creamy, yet firm character. It’s a relative of Japanese miso, as both are fermented soybean pastes, but miso is made with koji and rice, which results in more sweetness and an overall lighter character (while still being umami-rich and salty). Doenjang is generally just salt and soy (this one includes barley), which yields a deeper and more intense flavor that we love.
Bona Furtuna Organic Aglio e Oglio
A classic Sicilian herb blend that’s extremely versatile, this medley is flecked with vibrant green parsley and red Calabrian chili. Dried parsley is generally one of the biggest wastes of pantry space, as it loses its character really fast (similar to other delicate herbs like cilantro and tarragon), and mass-produced drying and bottling of parsley generally means little to no flavor no matter how new your bottle is. The bright and clear parsley flavor in this Bona Furtuna blend is pretty much revelatory. The blend tastes bright, fruity and a little spicy, with grassy and bright parsley impeccably preserved by the drying process. It’s got a good amount of spice, but is rounded out with earthy, mellow garlic and a hint of high-quality Trapiani salt.
Bona Furtuna Stuffed Peppers with Tuna
A traditional antipasti from Sicily made with carefully sourced ingredients, this tasty bite has juicy, tender, fruity pepper flavor and a hint of spice in every juicy bite. Savory tuna complements, but doesn’t overpower the pepper flavor. The other flavors (a bit of tomato, the extra bit of brine from capers, the tang of the vinegar) round everything out really nicely. The peppers are chubby and round and stuffed with smooth tuna, with a meaty green olive on top. They’re packed in oil, which as taken on a slight red-orange hue from the red of the peppers.