This basic recipe is based on my dad's everyday cooking sauce. He would whip this up and then literally throw in any type of meat, fish or protein, but it was always tasty.
You can just blend the ingredients and store the uncooked sauce for later use, or cook it and then leave to cool - either way it saves time when making many of the recipes in this book. I make a big batch of this at least once a week - you can easily double the quantity if you want to make a bigger batch, although it's not necessary to increase the Scotch Bonnet unless you like it extra-extra-hot!
400g (14oz) can tomatoes or 250g (9oz) fresh tomatoes
30g (1oz) or 2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 onion, roughly chopped
5cm (2-inch) piece fresh root ginger, grated (unpeeled if organic)
1 red Scotch Bonnet chilli, deseeded
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves (optional}
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon extra-hot chilli powder
Place all the ingredients except the 'to cook' ones in a blender and blend together until you have a fairly smooth paste. This is your uncooked chalé sauce.
For cooked chalé sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and sauté over a medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Then add the curry powder and chilli powder and stir thoroughly to coat the onion evenly. Add the blended tomato mixture and simmer gently for 35-40 minutes.
Use straight away, or leave to cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for future use.
Reprinted with permission from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh. Copyright 2017, Mitchell Beazley. Photographs by Nassima Rothacker.
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