Hot Momo

What do Tibetans eat? If you said yak meat, barley bread, buttered tea and a stuffed bun called momo, you know more than most people do. But even you might not know that Tibetans are fond of spicy sauces.

A Tibetan-born American designer named Dachen Kyaping markets a line of Tibetan sauces under the brand name Khatsa, which means "hot mouth." Her barbecue sauce is excellent, very much like a mild molasses-based American barbecue sauce but with an elusive chocolaty quality thanks to the soybeans (or is it the ginger or the caraway?). Khatsa's hot sauce is an oniony orange paste, definitely hot with a lot of chewy chile seeds in it.

The salsa is quite authentic, though you'll have a hard time putting your finger on what makes it taste a little different from a Mexican salsa. One secret ingredient: celery. Another: nettles. Yes, they sting when they're raw, but they're eaten as a green in many parts of the world, and Tibetans believe they're good for arthritis.

Available at most Natural Foods Erewhon and Wild Oats markets.

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