If you haven't tried chraimeh sauce, you're in for a treat! This spicy, sweet, citrusy sauce hails from Libya, and was brought to fame by Yotom Ottolenghi in his legendary cookbook Jerusalem.
If you've tried my Homemade Hoisin Sauce or my Easy Spanish Romesco Sauce , you'll know that sauce recipes are one of my favorite things to create! A great sauce adds so much flavor and texture to a dish. That's why I'm so excited to introduce you to my new favorite sauce - chraimeh sauce.
Chraimeh traditionally refers to a Jewish fish stew eaten on Erev Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah. However, you can make the spicy sauce solo and add it to vegetables and tofu. The wonderful combination of spicy and sweet notes makes every dish chraimeh sauce is used with full of exotic flavors.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste is the backbone of chraimeh sauce. The mild, sweet flavor plays a big role in this sauce.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup adds sweetness without using refined sugar. Check out my article Is Maple Syrup Vegan?
- Lime Juice: We'll be using the juice of a whole lime, which balances out the sweet and spicy notes of this sauce, and adds a nice zesty twang. Some recipes use lemon juice, but I prefer lime juice. However, if a lemon is what you have on hand, feel free to use that.
- Green Chili: There's a few options here, depending on how spicy you want your chraimeh sauce to be; you can add the chili whole, seeds and all, or you can de-seed your chili for a milder sauce.
- Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds have a unique flavor profile - they're nutty and sweet with an anise type flavor. I recommend using ground caraway seeds, but if you already have the seeds whole, just grind them up a bit in a mortar and pestle.
- Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil has a neutral flavor, which makes it ideal in this recipe.
- Smoked Paprika: Sweet smoked paprika adds a nice chargrilled flavor to this sauce.
- Garlic: There's quite a bit of garlic in chraimeh sauce. The pungent flavor is softened by the mild and sweet tomato paste.
- Salt: Salt is a natural flavor enhancer.
- Cumin: Cumin bolsters the spiciness and adds its own touch of earthiness.
- Cinnamon: You only need a small amount of cinnamon for its flavor to shine through.
How To Make Chraimeh Sauce
- Place your garlic, chili pepper, spices, 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and 3 tablespoons of water in a blender. Blend until a smooth paste forms. Depending on your blender, you may need to scrape the sides down and dislodge any stuck bits several times. If you need to, add an additional teaspoon of water.
- Heat another 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a saute pan and add the spice paste. Saute for 30 seconds. Now add the tomato paste, lime juice, maple syrup and ⅔ cup of water. Let everything simmer for two minutes.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Store it in a clean jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Yes, you can! Freeze in an airtight container for up to one month. Defrost in the fridge.
Craving More Easy Vegan Recipes?
- 10 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 green chili pepper deseeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground caraway
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons sunflower oil divided
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ⅔ cup, plus 3 tablespoons water divided
- Place garlic, chili pepper, spices and 2 tablespoons of oil in a blender. Blend until a smooth paste forms.
- Heat another 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a saute pan and add the spice paste. Saute for 30 seconds. Now add the tomato paste, lime juice, maple syrup and ⅔ a cup of water. Simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Chraimeh sauce is naturally gluten free.
- Store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to one week. Freeze in an airtight container for up to one month and defrost in the fridge.