Just about every chef has a secret weapon, some sort of sauce that they go to, or a spice blend of sorts that they know, when in doubt, will elevate any given dish to the next level. I don’t. But if you are around me for a summer, or a few weeks at a time, you might assume that I do. Why? Because I love to try out new sauces and whenever I have a squeeze bottle filled up with one I tend to squirt it on everything. But it is always temporary, I am always looking for that new sauce, a new temporary weapon until the next great one comes along.
Last summer I figured out a sauce that would surely change the course of my culinary history, and help fight a long lasting battle with eating at fast food restaurants. Taco Bell has that magical “Baja” style taco with a creamy jalapeno sauce which has a bit of a red tint to it. But what the hell is in it? Beats me, I just think it is delicious. How would you say “beats me” in the past tense? “It used to beat me?”
In my quest to stop eating out, one of the earlier things to go was fast food, but there were a few things I couldn’t help but find my past self craving. One was the Baja Gordita at Taco Bell. I felt that if I could recreate that sauce (which if they knew what was good for them would be their “Big Mac” sauce) that I would no longer need any form of taco bell anymore. I woke up one morning and decided to search for some “clone” recipes. Upon finding a few ideas as to what might be in it, I left my apartment and hit up the market. On the way to the market I decided to check out and make sure my car was still parked in the spot I left it in. It wasn’t. Shit.
I called the pound and it turns out that they had towed it the day before. Should be a fun day. I took a bus over to the pound, and about two hours and $300 later I was heading back home in my car. But I was still determined to make that damn sauce! I picked up a vidalia onion, a red bell pepper, and a jalapeno and got to work…
Flash forward a few hours; A tear rolled down my face. I had done it. My life’s work was now complete. Okay, so that sounds a bit dramatic but I can’t really explain what I felt that day, I had discovered the secret to the perfect creamy jalapeno sauce from Taco Bell. And now I am going to share the recipe with you. I call it the JaJa sauce for a few reasons. For one it has jalapenos in it, hence the ”Ja” part, but it also became somewhat of a joke down the shore last year, it was so good that it was hilariously funny, we kept saying “HaHa” and laughing about how good this damn sauce was. It literally can go on everything from; chicken to eggs to vegetables, and will guarantee you a creamy kick in your face.
Recipe for Jaja
1 Medium sized Jalapeno seeded, membranes removed and diced
1/4 of a Vidalia Onion
1/4 to 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 Cup of Mayo, Yogurt, or Sour Cream
1/4 Cup or so of Vinegar +more to taste
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
1. In a food processor puree onion, jalapeno, and red bell pepper. Strain out the liquid with a mesh strainer. You can alternatively use a blender or even just dice everything up extremely small if you don’t have a processor.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix in whatever base you are using (mayo, yogurt, sour cream, or any mixture off them) with vinegar and some garlic powder.
3. At about a tablespoon at a time, add the puree into the other mixture and keep adding and tasting until it reaches your desired spiciness. I always end up adding the entire puree but some do not like it quite as spicy. You will notice it will start to look reddish like the picture above, just slightly more appetizing.
4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and add more garlic powder and vinegar if necessary.
This sauce is great for meats, on tacos, eggs, and just about anything else you can think of. It is also a great base sauce and mixes well with other sauces such as barbecue and even, as my brother discovered, teriyaki. Enjoy a past love of my life, I won’t be offended.