The Pretend Chef

Quick and easy Tomato Sauce

Spicy, quick and easy tomato sauce

Spicy, delectable and easy, this is the simplest tomato sauce recipe ever. A true example of ‘less is more’. There is nothing fancy about this Tomato sauce and it is very quick to make. The taste is fantastic and the colour, tantalising.

It is made with chicken and beef and they are what gives the sauce most of its good flavour.

The best types of chicken to use are old layers or rooster (Cock). They are tough and flavoursome. In their absence, use the toughest chicken meat you can find.

Large chunks of onions add a delightful extra to this sauce. The quantity of onion chunks used depends on preference. Add them at the very end and don’t break the onion layers. This way the layers have different degrees of doneness, sweetness and crunch. When you eat the delicious sauce infused onions, you will love the beautiful notes playing in your mouth. In my home, no amount of onion chunks are ever enough. Somebody must complain they didn’t get enough.


Additions to the Tomato Sauce

The beautiful thing about this tomato sauce recipe is, you can take it further in different directions by the addition of different spices and herbs, e.g 

  • Nigerian-Add curry leaf (partminger) or scent leaf
  • Italian-Add oregano and basil
  • Mexican-Add garlic and jalapeño or Serrano peppers
  • French-Add thyme, rosemary and oregano
  • You can add bell peppers,celery and carrots. 

It is simply a blank canvas.

Give the usual Nigerian tomato stew a break and give this tomato sauce a try. It doesn’t use the usual Nigerian tomato base

To make Nigerian Tomato Sauce:

1 whole chicken (cut into parts)
250g beef
1 medium onion (1/2 cup chopped)
2 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper)
chilli pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
8 cups water
4 chicken seasoning cubes
3 large onions


Wash beef and chicken, place in a large pot and season with salt and 2 seasoning cubes.

Add chopped onions, whole scotch bonnet and chilli pepper. Boil till tender.

chicken nigerian tomato sauce-1

If the chicken gets tender first, remove, set aside and keep boiling the beef.

Meanwhile, place a dry sauce pan or frying pan, over medium heat.

Add vegetable oil, when hot, add flour and stir very well. This is called a roux.

roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Lower heat to low and cook, while stirring all the time, till the colour changes from white to a light brown. This can take up to 3-5 minutes.

roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Take off the heat and add tomato paste.

tomato paste and roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Stir and mix well. Set aside.

tomato paste and roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Thickly slice the large onions and set aside.

thickly cut onions for quick and easy tomato sauce

When the beef and chicken are tender.

meat and stock for tomato paste and roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Add water to the meat stock to make up to 8 cups of liquid then add the remaining seasoning cubes.

stock and meat for tomato paste and roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Scoop the roux and tomato paste into the sauce. Stir gently, don’t mash up the lumps of tomato paste roux, they will dissolve as the sauce cooks. 

tomato paste roux being scooped into the meat stock for tomato paste and roux for quick and easy tomato sauce

Cook uncovered till the sauce has thickened.

Taste for salt and pepper and correct seasoning.

quick and easy tomato sauce in a pot

Remove the whole scotch bonnet.

Add the thickly sliced onions, stir and cook for 2 minutes take off the heat.

onion chunks being added to quick and easy tomato sauce in a pot

The onions will cook a bit more with the residual heat.

Serve with white rice and steamed vegetables, pasta, couscous, boiled or roasted irish potatoes etc.

Spicy, quick and easy tomato sauce


  • Cook roux long enough to remove the rawness of the flour.
  • Be careful not to burn your roux. It will ruin the taste of the sauce and it won’t be able to thicken the tomato sauce.
  • If the roux burns, throw it out and start with fresh flour and oil.


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