The Really Useful Two Pepper Sauce

At this time of year I know it's usual for food bloggers to offer Christmas cake and turkey recipes but I'm really not a Christmas person. So instead I'm offering this not entirely seasonal recipe because I think it might prove useful for all those festive leftovers.

Now I'm about to let you into a secret, so keep this to yourself. This deceptively simple recipe was a staple of a late and much lamented Indian restaurant some years ago. They used this sauce in a number of different ways and in a number of different dishes. I've adapted this recipe a little since then and reduced the quantities for home use. To my shame, I can't recall the name of the chef from whom I stole, sorry I meant to say learnt, the recipe but I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that it still serves as a base in one or two restaurants somewhere in our fair land.

This is a remarkably useful and adaptable concoction that can be used either hot or cold. Try serving small, undiluted amounts cold with appetisers such as pakoras or baked, spiced chicken fillets. Alternatively, thin the sauce with water or stock and heat to produce a sauce for meat or vegetables, including leftovers of course. You can add chillies, herbs such as coriander or garlic chives, spring onions or spices to the sauce before serving if the dish calls for it. The sauce will keep well for a while in the fridge but also freezes excellently.
Two Pepper Sauce
250 g flesh of red peppers, roughly chopped (there's no need to peel the peppers)
250 ml red wine vinegar
1½ tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1½  tbsp golden caster sugar
A pinch or two of sweet, smoked paprika

In a wok or large frying pan begin to soften the red pepper flesh in a little coconut oil over a moderate heat for 5  - 10 minutes. (An alternative oil will be fine if you prefer.) Add the vinegar, black pepper, fennel seeds and sugar. Sprinkle over a generous few pinches of salt. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a couple of tablespoons and the peppers are tender. Stir in the smoked paprika.

Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool a little before liquidising until smooth (or as smooth as you'd like it to be). You should end up with somewhere between 100 - 150 g of very concentrated sauce.

Serve hot or cold, diluted or undiluted as your customers or friends desire.

Since I'm not much of a Christmas person, it's almost unknown for me to enjoy a Christmas song. But the masterly Josh Rouse has presented us with an album of holiday songs this year that are as smooth as very smooth silk on a particularly smooth day in Smoothland. And that sounds like my ideal Christmas. Have a very festive (and very smooth) Yuletide.


  1. Phil, wow! This sauce sounds delicious and versatile. As with my Sunflower Seed Romesco Sauce, I'm sure I'll be putting this on just about anything that comes through my kitchen! If it didn't call for a trip to the grocery store to pick up peppers, I'd try this out tonight on some dinner guests. Oh well, they can have it next time they're here.

    1. It's especially useful when the peppers are in season and cheap, of course.

  2. This sounds good and very useful. Definitely one to try. Happy Christmas.

    1. And a Happy Christmas to you too and here's hoping that you have plenty of tasty leftovers.


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