Bottled Heat

These five fiery condiments boost the flavor in everyday dishes.

Bottled Heat

Each of these condiments has its own distinct brand of heat. Keep them on hand to add a burst of flavor to any dish.

1. Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce

Country of origin: Mexico; "chipotle" is a combination of the prefix chi (for "chile") and potle (Aztec word for "smoke")

Main ingredients: chipotle chiles (dried, smoked jalapeños) and adobo sauce (seasoned tomato sauce)

Heat index: medium, with a smoky, slightly sweet, meaty, and savory flavor. Drying and smoking concentrates a jalapeño's heat.

Consistency: rehydrated, soft chiles in tomato sauce

Where to find: canned, in the Latin foods section of most grocery stores

Best uses: They're usually not added after cooking, but are often an ingredient in chili, soups, and sauces.



2. Sriracha

Country of origin: Thailand (named after a seaside town)

Main ingredients: red Thai chiles, sugar, vinegar, salt, and garlic

Heat index: moderately hot and spicy, but rounded with sweetness and deepened with garlic

Consistency: thick, like bottled barbecue sauce

Where to find it: Asian markets, or order from www.ethnicgrocer.com . The most common brand, Huy Fong, comes in a clear plastic squeeze bottle with a rooster on the label and a bright green cap.

Best uses: Enjoyed as a table condiment in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, it's also great with non-Asian dishes. Try it in place of ketchup on most anything-French fries, omelets or scrambled eggs, pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers.



3. Sambal Oelek (ground fresh chile paste)

Country of origin: Indonesia

Main ingredients: chiles with little additional seasoning other than vinegar

Heat index: intense

Consistency: somewhat thin, like tomato puree

Where to find it: Asian markets, or from www.ethnicgrocer.com or www.thegoodlifegourmet.com.The brand we use, Huy Fong, comes in a plastic jar with a green lid and gold label depicting a rooster.

Best uses: Stir into sauces and marinades.



4. Hot Pepper Sauce

Country of origin: United States

Main ingredients: Tabasco Sauce, the most recognizable brand, is made with hot peppers grown on Avery Island, Louisiana. The peppers are mashed and fermented in oak barrels for up to 3 years, then mixed with vinegar.

Heat index: moderately spicy and vinegary

Consistency: watery

Where to find it: grocery store shelves near the ketchup and barbecue sauce

Best uses: Use on almost anything that needs a little heat.



5. Wasabi

Country of origin: Japan

Main ingredients: Nicknamed "Japanese horseradish," wasabi is grated from a rare plant that is not actually related to horseradish. The real thing is expensive and hard to find in the United States. (What Americans eat-and our recipes use- is a blend of horseradish and mustard tinted green with food coloring to look like wasabi.)

Heat index: varies; has pungent, intense spiciness that registers first in your sinuses and makes your eyes water

Consistency: thick, toothpastelike texture

Where to find: Look for tubes of wasabi paste or powder (to reconstitute with water) in the Asian food section of large supermarkets or in Asian markets.

Best uses: Serve with sushi, mix into mashed potatoes, or use in a sauce or marinade for strong-flavored fish.

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