Chili sauces are a must have condiment in Somali kitchens. This particular sauce with its combination of green chili, garlic, lemon, oil and coriander adds a fresh and spicy touch to any meal.
“It makes me eat lots more,” says a good friend, but I know he likes it as he keeps demanding for a regular supply of this chili sauce.
Chili sauces are ubiquitously called bisbas or basbas in the Somali language. There are many other variations of this sauce. Sometimes we add cardamom, tomato, parsley or a bit of yoghurt. It is also popular in Yemen and Israel where it is called sahawiq or zhoug, respectively.
Serve this condiment with any kind of meat, add to salads to give it a kick, and it is delicious with french fries or wedges.
This sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.
Green Chili and Coriander Sauce (Basbas Cagaar aka Sahawiq or Zhoug)
6 hot green chilies (I like Serrano, Scotch Bonnet or Bird’s Eye, but you can use any kind that you like)
I cup of fresh, chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
3 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of salt or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Simply blitz everything in a blender until smooth – a food processor works better or you could do this the traditional way with a mortal and pestle. Taste and add a teaspoon of honey if you want to tone down the heat.