Filfa Chuma Sauce

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.  Of course, you can make the sauce with as much or little “heat” as you want, depending on how many chiles you use.

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

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.