Chermoula Sauce
[1] Chermoula, from North Africa, is spiced with cumin (photo © Off The Meat Hook).

[2] Butter Chicken Supreme, in a sauce flavored with makhani, served calzone-style at Superkhana International in Chicago (photo © Superkhana International).

[3] S’chug, also spelled zhug, a popular Yemeni sauce (photo © Anson Mills).

[4] You can serve this papaya sauce with a dessert, or spice it up to serve with fish, and meats. Here’s the recipe from A Spoonful Of Yum (photo © A Spoonful Of Yum).

Homemade Harissa Paste
[5] Harissa has been gaining in awareness in the U.S. Here’s a recipe to make your own harissa paste, from Slow Burning Passion (photo © Slow Burning Passion).


Many of us eat global cuisine at restaurants, but why not dabble in them more often at home?

A simple path is to add an international-style sauce to chicken, fish and other everyday foods.

Flavor & The Menu, a resource for restaurant chefs nationwide, offers 12 global sauces for you to try.

They range from mild to spicy—and of course, you control the level of heat in your own kitchen.

We’re presenting these dozen dazzlers in a three-part article, so you can “digest” your thoughts—four sauces at a time.

This bright herb sauce and marinade from North Africa has cumin as the main ingredient.

It is typically ground or blended into a paste with garlic, cilantro or other herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper.

While chermoula is often used as a sauce accompaniment to seafood in countries like Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, it can also shine in marinades for meats, as a topping for salads, bowls and other veg-centric builds, or as a spread or dip in a shareable.

How about a:

  • Pork chop with shishito peppers and chermoula
  • Seafood Chermoula with shrimp, mussels, Gulf fish, lemon, onion and olive oil
  • Lamb Tagine with braised lamb, chermoula vegetable couscous, farmer’s salad, marinated olives, yogurt mint sauce, scallions, fresh herbs and toasted almonds

    Fruit adds sweet, floral and textural notes to a sauce, helping round out richer dishes as well as those with a bit of spice.

    American recipes have used berries, citrus and stone fruits to sauce both savory and sweet dishes.

    Go global and make sauces from more tropical fruits—cherimoya, guava, mango, pineapple—and pair them with spices from another culture—chile, curry, ginger, lemongrass, star anise…the combinations are endless.
    3. MAKHANI

    The name is new to us, but the concept is familiar: It’s a type of Indian curry (a.k.a. gravy).

    Makhani is traditionally made by simmering green and red chiles, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, spices, nuts and seeds in plenty of butter and then grounding or blending it into a paste.

    Thanks to a growing interest in Indian cuisine, bright red makhani sauce can move beyond paneer butter masala, chicken butter masala and egg and vegetarian Indian dishes to fusion dishes.
    Italian-style calzones at Superkhana International in Chicago.

  • Calzone-style Butter Chicken Supreme with Makhani
  • Marinara or mole alternative
  • Pasta and pizza

    As with most hot sauces used in the U.S., Middle Eastern hot sauces work across cuisines, providing lots of fusion opportunity.

    Harissa is perhaps the best known, but take a look at s’chug, with bright, acidic notes from cilantro and green chiles.

    Another hot sauce to watch is shatta, from Lebanon. It blends Kashmiri red chiles, lemon juice, garlic and chile powder.

    Perfect with Middle Eastern dishes like shawarma, these sauces work equally well with tacos, wings and more.

    In fact, how about a plate of tacos or wings with all three hot sauces for a fact-finding mission (i.e., which Middle Eastern hot sauce you like best)?

  • Part 2: Nuoc Cham, Nut-Based Sauces, Peri Peri, Sambal
  • Part 3: Savory Caramel, Tahini, Tamarind, Yogurt-Based Sauces


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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