Cookbook:Filfel Chuma (Libyan Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Filfel Chuma (Libyan Spicy Tomato Sauce)
CategorySauce recipes

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Filfel chuma is a popular spicy tomato sauce in Libyan cuisine. It is known for its vibrant red color, bold flavors, and fiery kick. This versatile sauce is made with a combination of tomatoes, garlic, chili peppers, and various spices. It can be used as a condiment, marinade, or base for other dishes.






  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped chili peppers. Sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the saucepan and stir well.
  4. Sprinkle the ground cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Mix the spices into the sauce.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens.
  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the sauce cool slightly.
  7. Transfer the sauce to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Alternatively, if you prefer a chunky texture, you can skip this step.
  8. Stir in the fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
  9. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro before serving.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Adjust the spiciness of the sauce by adding more or less chili peppers according to your tolerance.
  • This sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Use ripe tomatoes for the best flavor. You can also use canned tomatoes as a substitute when fresh tomatoes are not in season.
  • For a smoky flavor, you can roast the tomatoes before adding them to the saucepan.
  • Add a pinch of ground cinnamon or a dash of vinegar for a unique twist to the flavor profile.
  • Customize the sauce by adding other spices such as oregano, thyme, or sumac.