MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: 20 minutes

Nothing about this chile sauce is subtle; the color is deep green, the aroma is mouth-watering, and the flavors are intense. It’s delicious with Dosa and Dry-Pan Eggplant. Add some yogurt (see the first variation), to mellow the sauce a bit.

If the relatively mild poblanos aren’t strong enough for you, you can increase the heat by adding some serrano or other hot chiles; see The Basics of Chiles and Peppers. And for a quicker, somewhat milder sauce, you can use a can or two of green chiles instead.

6 medium poblano or other mild fresh green chiles, roasted and cleaned

1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Pinch asafetida (optional)

1/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Put chiles, ginger, cumin, cilantro, and asafetida if you’re using it in a blender or food processor; pure until smooth, adding a tablespoon or so of water if necessary.

Put the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chile pure and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. (Be careful when adding the chile pure it will splatter when it hits the hot oil.) Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lime juice. Serve hot or store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Variations

Chile-Yogurt Sauce. A wonderful combo of cool and hot, ideal with Samosas or as a dip: Let the chile sauce cool and then add a 1/2 cup or more of yogurt. Serve at room temperature.

Chile and Coconut Sauce. Rich, spicy, creamy, and delicious: In Step 2, stir a 14-ounce can of coconut milk (or about 2 cups homemade coconut milk), into the simmering chile pure.

Red Chile Sauce, Indian Style. Lovely color, deep flavor: Replace the poblanos with 6 New Mexico or other mild red fresh chile, roasted and cleaned (see Peppers and Chiles).

Red Chile Sauce, North African Style. Replace the poblanos with 6 New Mexico or other mild red fresh chiles. Substitute 2 cloves peeled garlic for the ginger; add 1/2 teaspoon each caraway, coriander, and fennel seeds; omit the asafetida.