Sosu Kaani (Habanero Chile Sauce)

  • Serves

    makes 2 cups


This spicy, cooked chile-and-tomato sauce is used to add a kick to virtually every dish in Senegal, especially accara and other fried street snacks. To make it spicier, simply add more habanero chiles or a pinch of cayenne. This recipe first appeared in our May 2012 issue along with John O'Connor's story A Feast For All.


  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Step 1

Heat oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chile, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring often, until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Step 2

Remove and discard bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Puree sauce in a food processor or blender, and let cool to room temperature. Store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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