It may seem like cheating, but I like to use canned curry paste for this dish since it avoids the work of chopping and pounding that homemade curry paste involves. This dish takes its name from the northern Malaysian port city, but in Thailand the sauce is creamier and richer than the dry dark curries popular there.
Here is my version of the classic hot sauce of Rórigues Island in the Mascarenes. It is very thick, so feel free to thin with more water if you want. You’d think that this sauce might be sour, but it’s not–the sugar in the red chiles seems to temper the tart lemons. Any fresh red chiles can be used, and you can adjust the heat level to your liking. The yield is high here, but the color is so beautiful that you should put the excess in decorative bottles as gifts for your friends. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Serve it over fish or other seafood.
Here is a classic pique recipe from Puerto Rico. As usual, the longer the chiles steep, the hotter the sauce will be. It should be stored in a bottle with a sprinkler cap so the amount of sauce can be controlled as it is sprinkled over grilled fish, poultry, or even into salads. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
Adding tomatillos gives the variation of a traditional New Mexican chili a south of the border twist. They provide a tangy, citrus-like taste that can at times be very tart. The heat in this dish will very depending on the heat of the green chili you use. The Big Jim variety will be mild, the Sandia hot, and most will fall into the medium range.
Like most stews, this one takes a while to cook, about 4 hours. It is interesting because it contains a number of pre-Columbian ingredients, namely Chiltepins, corn, squash, potatoes, and tepary beans. The spicy heat can be adjusted by adding or subtracting Chiltepins.