Pepper Sauce From Cameroon

Chiliheads and hot spice fanatics first need to be duly warned that they are about to be knocked out of their chairs. 

Cameroonian pepper sauce may not be quite as ubiquitous in Cameroon as salt and pepper on an American table, but just as Aunt Mo won't lift a fork unless her beloved hot sauce is on the table and Uncle Clive won't say grace until he spies the ketchup over near the cheese powder, there are certain ladies and gentlemen who gotta have their pepper sauce or else.

The most basic pepper sauce is a little caustic for typical American palates: Perhaps a dozen habanero peppers of varying shades from green to red, all of the garlic cloves from a head, and a pinch of salt pulverized in a blender, poured into a glass or ceramic bowl, and covered with olive oil.

It would not be a stretch to say that the most basic pepper sauce is an acquired taste for many.

There is no one way to prepare Cameroonian pepper sauce. Ingredients are whatever you wish to combine, to taste.

A more complex and somewhat less pungent condiment can be made by combining these fresh ingredients in your blender: 

Six or so habanero peppers. It does not matter whether they are green, red, yellow or orange. You will learn whether or not you have a preference. Remove the stems and any spots. No need to remove the seeds.

Add half a small onion. Vidalia Sweets have a smoother flavor than regular yellow/brown onions. Your choice.

A cube of Maggi or some chicken bouillon that you like.

Six or so fat, peeled garlic cloves.

A nice slice of ginger. You decide how big "nice" is.

Half a bunch of cilantro.

Whirl it, baby . . . you will have a thick paste when your blender has done its magic.  Scrape the paste out into a glass or ceramic bowl, and cover it well with olive oil.  It is possible the peppers will make you cough or sneeze while performing this step. 

Wash your hands and anything you have used vigorously.

For many, a little pepper sauce will go a very long way. While those accustomed to it may heap spoonfuls of it on their dinner, others may be happy with a few drops of the olive oil that covers the pepper paste.

However the sauce is made, it refrigerates well for at least a week. A tablespoon provides a righteous punch to a pot (yes, a pot) of chili or chicken soup. A thin coat can be smeared on a beef roast with the back of a spoon before stewing in a crock pot. To serve it at meals, take it out of the fridge a half hour or so before each meal so that the oil, which becomes cloudy with refrigeration, has time to return to its usual consistency. 

Get up from the floor now and keep plenty of gum on hand!

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