On a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, Simon and I wandered off to the winter Smorgasburg, a weekend artisanal food fair that takes place in Industry City at my neighborhood here in Brooklyn. We stopped at a stand and sampled some hot jalapeño sauce. As I dramatically nodded my head to show appreciation and great pleasure, I told Simon maybe I should bring some jalapeño sauce when I visit friends and family in China, to which he responded ‘I’d have a hard time believing Chinese people would love jalapeño sauce given that your preferred style of spiciness is vastly different. You really are in the US too long!’. Of course, he said it in Chinese to avoid causing any embarrassment. I appreciated his thoughtfulness.
But I thought adding a splash of Mexico to my mostly Asian-influenced home culinary experience would open doors to more creativity, so I set off to make my own jalapeño sauce. As I was searching for inspirations online I came across the apparently popular jalapeño and cashew combo. The sauce we sampled at industry city seems largely jalapeño based, thin, hot, and leaves your throat on fire before you realize it, but I would very much prefer something creamy to balance the buffer the hotness of jalapeño peppers, plus I just can’t get enough cashew nuts! Jalapeño peppers and cashew here we go.
Obviously my mind doesn’t work that way. As soon as I set my eyes on the opened bag of chic peas on my kitchen counter, I knew the #fomo would kill me if those little guys didn’t tag along to the blender. Hmm, how about we make a jalapeño cashew hummus instead? So I took out a cucumber and the olive oil, squeezed a lemon, and there we have it: jalapeño cashew hummus. It’s unlike any hummus i’ve had before, and surprisingly, the half a cucumber adds such a refreshing strain of taste to it. Absolutely loved it! Good luck with yours; let me know how it goes. —Ariel
chic peas, boiled with water, softened, and drained
raw cashew, soaked in water for at least 3 hours