Mumbo Sauce – Is D.C.’s Secret Sauce the Next Big Thing?

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A friend of mine asked me recently if I’d ever heard of mumbo sauce, since she had just returned from Washington D.C., and said it was “everywhere.” I hadn’t, which isn’t a surprise, since unless you’re from the Capital, or select neighborhoods in Chicago, this stuff is virtually unknown.

Apparently, this sweet-and-sour condiment came to Washington D.C. via Chicago, where it somehow became a staple in Chinese take-out restaurants, served as a condiment with fried chicken wings, among other things. That’s as much background as you're getting here, and like many other regional culinary specialties, the history is murky.

All I know is that this was great with fried chicken wings, and I look forward to finding other uses for it, although I’m not sure French fries is going to be one of them. I’m a ketchup guy, and probably too old to change. Having said that, I can see this catching on, and for once, I’ll be ahead of a trend.

They say every takeout place in D.C. has their own secret recipe, but there were quite a few published recipes on the Internet, and so this is sort of a composite, based on the extensive, 20 minutes of research I did. Stay tuned for the chicken wing experiment I mentioned in the video, and in anticipation, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 4 cups of Mumbo Sauce:
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
2/3 cup ketchup
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

- Please note: Every one of these ingredients is “to taste.”


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