On my kitchen counter right now are citrus fruits: lemons, blood oranges, clementines and limes. Beside them is a jar of Samurai sauce (or Samourai sauce, if you’re Dutch). This is a bad omen in my house.
When I start to get sick, often the first sign is that I start to crave sour things. And hot spicy things. Sour I understand--it’s the Vitamin C. Ok, but spicy? Beats me, but it’s an infallible sign when combined with sour.
So here we are, with the dreaded hot and sour combo. And sure enough, I have a bug. A cold. It’s settled in my throat and I sound like a frog. Ew. Not a good thing when you’re glib for a living.
I can hear you, you know. I can hear you asking yourself (and me too): What’s that Samurai sauce? I’ve never seen it before! I’m so sorry. You’ve really missed something special.
You may know that Belgians love their fries. Fries here are served with a variety of sauces, with ketchup being only one of many choices. (I can see that we’ll have to take a side trip to a friterie soon. Sometime when I don’t sound so much like Kermit.) The classic, of course, is mayo. But there are lots of others: Bearnaise, Tartare, Andalouse, Curry. Given my innate bias towards spicy foods, my favorite is Samurai. Especially when I’m sick. Or sounding froggy.
Samurai sauce is like mayonnaise but with a real kick. It’s mayo grown up. It has hot chili peppers in it. It has its own facebook page. By now you’re probably saying, “How could I have missed this?” Me too. When I first tasted it, I wondered how I could have lived without it for so long. I think it’s because it’s pretty much only sold in Belgium and maybe the Netherlands.
Samurai sauce is great on fries, of course. But it's also good on chips--potato or corn. Or on breadsticks. Or on sandwiches in place of mayo.
I’ve never tried to make Samurai sauce. When I look at the ingredients, I think I know how I’d approach it, though. It has vegetable oil, egg yolk, vinegar, red pepper, mustard, water, sugar, chili, salt. Hmmm...it sounds like mayo with chili and red pepper in it. I’d probably begin by roasting a red pepper and pureeing it, then making (or buying) mayo and adding the pureed pepper and some pureed chili.
I googled Samurai sauce, and found only one recipe for it here in Dutch or here in English. This just says to mix mayo and pureed chili peppers. I tried it, and that’s close, but not exactly the thing. I think it’s missing the roasted red peppers. The color is paler and the taste is not quite the same. My pureed chili peppers are preserved in vinegar, which gives this too much of a vinegar bite. It needs that little bit of the pepper’s mellow sweetness to balance the mayo and the chilis. IMHO.
So I’m sitting here drinking tea made from ginger (hot) and lemon (sour) and a little honey. For lunch I’ve made some chicken soup with rice. With it think I’ll have some rye crackers with Samurai sauce. It's my favorite remedy. A few days of this and I should feel better...
Citrus and Samurai--good for what ails you. What's your favorite cold remedy?
P.S. Have you seen Jamie Oliver’s TED talk? If not, go here. It takes 22 minutes, and it's very important. Especially if you have children.