Basic Balti Sauce

Finger Hot is the commercial name for this asian-type pepper that is actually very similar to fresh cayenne and can be used in any recipe to add heat without changing the flavor. It is a good chile to chop and use in stir fry.

They are thin-walled and measure about 1/2″ wide and 5″ to 8″ long. These chiles also dry very nicely.

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4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Spanish onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger
4 finger hot chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
seeds from 10 cardamom pods
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground fenugreek
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 (14 oz. ) can chopped tomatoes
1 pint vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
pared rind of 1 lemon


Heat the oil in a heavy pan and fry the onions, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes. Add the chiles and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add the remaining spices, then stir for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, lemon juice and rind. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Discard the lemon rind. The sauce is now ready to use or may be kept in the refrigerator for several days.