Photo above: Zhug (a Yeminite Hot Sauce with Cilantro and Parsley)

In our Splendid Table Selects episode History of Sauces, we talked with food historian Maryann Tebben about the delicious history of sauces. Considering the wide variety of ingredients and processes that make some of the world's great sauces, we wanted to share five of our favorites. These are sauces that will bring new flavors to your table as you explore their use of unique chilies, spices, sweeteners and acids.


GHANA: Shito (Hot Pepper Sauce)

Photo: Nassima Rothacker

"This is the famous Ghanaian hot chilli condiment, which can be made in a variety of ways and every household has its own recipe. It goes really well with both fish and meat, and can be served as a side to most dishes. It can also be used for marinating or as a dressing, dip, spread or topping. I eat it with almost everything, but especially love it as a spicy addition to a cheeseboard with other chutneys." - Zoe Adjonyoh

 

MOROCCO: Charmoula Sauce

Photo: PicturePartners | Thinkstock

Charmoula is a traditional Moroccan spice blend. Charmoula sauce is great for serving atop -- or used to finish -- fish (like in the photo above), shrimp, chicken or vegetables. This recipe is specifically designed by America's Test Kitchen to accompany their recipe for Charcoal-Grilled Shrimp Skewers.

 

MEXICO: Tomatillo Salsa with Fresh Cheese from El Cardenal in Mexico City

Photo: Ellen Silverman

You know those dishes you can’t get out of your head? Tomatillo salsa shows up constantly in Mexican restaurants, but the one we had in Mexico City’s El Cardenal, the city’s grand dame of genteel tradition, kept haunting us. As green as a fluorescent shamrock, wonderfully tart and herbal, it came to the table in a little blue and white ceramic mortar (the classic Mexican molcajete) with sticks of fresh cheese for dipping.

 

VIETNAM: Nuoc Cham (Basic Dipping Sauce)

Photo: Magalie L'Abbé | Flickr

This is a recipe the classic Vietnamese dipping sauce from Andrea Nguyen, author of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, who suggests adding more lime juice, fish sauce or sugar to suit your taste and achieve your preferred balance of sour, sweet and salty.

 

YEMEN: Zhug (Yemenite Hot Sauce with Cilantro and Parsley)

Photo: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt | Serious Eats

"This Yemenite sauce is fresh and bright from herbs, while also having an intensely spicy kick to it. It's the ideal accompaniment for falafel or sabich sandwiches, but it also goes great with a variety of grilled vegetables, fish, meat, and eggs. And it should last a few weeks in the fridge (though I've never had a jar linger long enough to actually find out)." - J. Kenji Lopez-Alt | Serious Eats