Potatoes Bathed in Filfel Chuma

On one of my trips to Israel I learned to make filfel chuma, a hot sauce of Libyan Jewish cuisine.  It has so many uses for cooking!  I make a batch of it and store it in a jar in my refrigerator.  You can spoon it into soups, sauces, over grilled meats and vegetables.  This recipe is just boiled potatoes tossed with filfel chuma and parsley.  Not only does the sauce give the potatoes a beautiful color, it flavors them perfectly.  Of course, you can make the sauce with as much or little “heat” as you want, depending on how many chiles you use.

Potatoes Bathed in Filfel Chuma (serves 8):  

2 pounds new potatoes, washed
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup filfel chuma (recipes follows)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Method: Place potatoes into a 4 quart pot and cover them with water.  Add the salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).  To test doneness, prick a potato with a fork.  It should be soft, but not mushy.  Drain potatoes, and lay out on a sheet pan lined with paper towels to dry.  Put a large skillet over medium high heat and add filfel chuma.  Stir until warm, and add potatoes.  Gently stir to coat the potatoes without mashing them.  Taste for salt, and transfer to a platter or bowl.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.


Filfa Chuma (Libyan Jewish Spicy Sauce)
makes 2 cups 

2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 cups warm water
2 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander seed
1 tbsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. salt

Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place red bell peppers on a baking sheet and place in oven to roast for 30 minutes, or until skin is blistered.  Remove peppers and put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool.  In a small bowl, soak the ancho chiles in warm water for at least 30 minutes.  When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove skin, stems, and seeds.  Place in the bowl of a blender or food processor.  Add ancho chiles with the soaking water, and all remaining ingredients.  Blend or process until mixture is smooth.  Add more water, if it is too thick.

SidesEvan Wei-HaasIsrael