There are two crucial steps in making this versatile condiment, a blend of warm spices, chile, malt vinegar and tomatoes, from Tim Graham of Chicago's Travelle. First, toast your spices to bring out their maximum flavor. Second, make sure to go low and slow when cooking, so that all of those heady flavors can meld together.
Once the sauce is done, you can leave it chunky or purée it until completely smooth, then slather it on everything.
To learn more, read "Tim Graham's Secret Weapon."
Recipe adapted from Tim Graham, Travelle, Chicago, IL
Yield: 2½ cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons whole black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 Thai chile pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons malt vinegar, plus ½ cup
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds and chili powder and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, Thai chile and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Cook until the vinegar has evaporated and the pan is dry, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, salt and remaining ½ cup of vinegar and cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until thickened and dark in color, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool before serving.