One of the best (and tastiest) ways to combat the summer sun is bringing hot sauce to the table. Though it may seem counterintuitive to fight fire with fire, sweat induced from spice will actually cool your body.
It’s no coincidence that food offerings which tip the Scoville scale are commonplace in warm weather locales across the globe. If you’re able to stand the heat in the kitchen, these international hot sauce recipes will bring you tears of joy and pain—but mostly joy.
Related Reading: 11 International Sauces to Enliven All Your Meals
Arguably the 21st century darling of the condiment world, Sriracha (more specifically, the ubiquitous rooster emblazoned bottle from Huy Fong Foods) is produced in California but the sauce actually originates from Thailand. While this homemade version may not be fermented, it’s simple to make and packs plenty of smoke and fire. Plus, if you don’t already own one, you’ll have an excuse to buy a stovetop smoker. Get our Smoked Sriracha Sauce recipe.
Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender, $349.95 from Sur La Table
For the smoothest sauce around.
Related Reading: 50 Things to Do with Sriracha, Just For Starters
As if the name didn’t give it away, this one is not for the faint of heart. Straight from Belize, the vegetal five-alarm blazer will bring some extra fire to your grill routine (halibut and chicken are perfect pairings). Just remember to use sparingly. Get our Mouth-Blistering Habanero-Carrot Hot Sauce recipe.
Hot Sauce Bottles, 24 for $22.99 from Amazon
Bottle it up.
A trip to your local Latin market is likely in order to capture the magic of adobo. Combining three different chiles and fresh pineapple, the popular South of the Border sauce and marinade provides a sumptuous sweet heat to Mexican favorites like al pastor and carne asada. Get our Mexican Chile Sauce Recipe
Related Reading: 11 of the Best Mexican Food Staples You Can Order Online
You may already be familiar with chimichurri, but if you prefer your green sauce spicy, consider another South American staple. Peruvian aji is a standard accompaniment to the country’s famed rotisserie chicken but also works wonders on fish, skirt steak, pork tenderloin, and vegetables. This version courtesy of José Luis Chavez, the celebrated chef behind New York’s Mission Ceviche, keeps things classic with fresh cilantro and jalapeno plus ample aji amarillo paste (made from yellow pepper), raw garlic, and onion, collectively known in Peru as the “holy trinity.” Get the Aji recipe.
Originating in Yemen, zhoug is well represented across the Middle East. The addictive blend of green chiles, cilantro, and parsley, can be slathered on meat and seafood, incorporated into salads, and dolloped on shakshuka. Not only does it taste great, Yemenites also claim the paste prevents illness and is good for the heart. Get the Zhoug recipe.
Related Reading: Shakshuka Is the Best One-Pan, All-Purpose Egg Dish Around
Harissa is another versatile player when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine. The tingly red paste can be used to bring an added depth of peppery flavor to anything from hummus to pizza (it also makes a great steak marinade). And since it’s made with only six ingredients, going DIY is a cinch. Get our Harissa recipe.
Jamaica’s signature searing jerk rub gets the sauce treatment. The chile of choice here is the carbonero, a sweet and fruity cousin of the habanero that certainly lives up to its fiery orange color. Juicy fresh peaches serve as a well-suited fruity companion and help to ease the peppery pain. Get the Carribean Jerk Peach Hot Sauce recipe.
You’ll find variations of sambal all across Asia and for good reason. Not only does it add heat to noodles, soups, and satays, but it also offers multiple other dimensions of flavor. While there are countless variations, this Malaysian version from El Mundo Eats is highlighted by plenty of dried chile spice, a bit of shrimp paste funk, and touch of sweetness courtesy of coconut sugar. Get the Sambal recipe.
Beloved in Africa (by way of Portugal) peri-peri is Swahili for “pepper-pepper” so it’s no surprise the sauce has bite. Used for dipping or as a marinade (most notably for grilled chicken), the chili, citrus, and garlic blend packs an unforgettable sweet, sour, and spicy wallop. Get the Peri-Peri recipe.