I first tasted this condiment at the Saturday market in Kalimpong, a town near the Bhutan—Sikkim border, as a red chile paste coating hard-cooked eggs. Each egg was wrapped in a green leaf, a beautiful presentation. The combination of egg and sauce was delicious, for the sauce had a surprising depth of flavor. I had expected just chile heat, but found out when I tasted the egg I’d bought that the chile oil paste was flavored with ginger, scallions, and garlic. We don’t eat many hard-cooked eggs in our house, but we do make this paste, called tsu la-tse, quite often. We serve it as a condiment to add a little heat and flavor to soups, rice meals, and grills of all kinds. It keeps well in the refrigerator.
Notes: We like to set this out as a condiment for those who want to add a dose of chile heat and to add sparkle to mild-tasting dishes such as Coconut-Rice Soup (page 89). It’s also a treat with Darjeeling Market Tibetan Breads (page 136).
The coconut milk sauce makes this a good dish to pair with rice, Sri Lankan or another, and a simple grill such as Grilled Marinated Beef (page 272) or Bangla-Flavored Grilled Zucchini (page 144). For extra heat, put out Red Onion Sambol (page 32) or Fresh Bean Sprout Salad (page 55).