Trader Joe’s ITALIAN BOMBA Hot Pepper Paste of Fermented Calabrian Chili Peppers



Since it first appeared, Trader Joe’s Italian “Bomba” Hot Pepper Sauce blew up all over the internet as one of Trader Joe’s best new offerings. In this case, any hype you’ve heard about how good TJ’s “BOMBA” is, is 100% justified. This stuff is incredible. Sorry I won’t be saying “it’s the bomb” (even though it is). However I will tell you that we just freaking LOVE this stuff, and put it on many, many things. Since first trying this its become a condiment that we have to have in the fridge at all times. Here’s why.

BOMBA is a condiment made from crushed up fresh Calabrian red chile peppers that get fermented. By now I’m sure you’re well aware about how fermentation adds complex flavor elements to foods. When you taste this paste you will notice a little bit of funkiness. That is it’s fermentation and it adds a magical addition of, you guessed it, UMAMI. Giving this stuff more complexity than just a “hot sauce”. Now Bomba sauce is a bit spicy but it’s not really spicy. It’s nowhere near a knock-your-head-off hot sauce, skulls on the label, kind of spicy. This has a tolerable level of spicy PLUS flavor! As a spiciness test, I just put a small spoon of Bomba in my mouth. While I got “yes this is spicy”, it didn’t want to make me want to drink a glass of milk or anything. I got something beyond just “spicy”, there that funkiness, even a bit of sweetness. So depending on the amount you use, you can adjust the level of spicy to your taste and palate, and if you add even just a tiny bit to dishes – I’m talking a quarter of a teaspoon – it will add wonderful flavors that may surprise you.

How to use Bomba ? Of course this is going to be great added to tomato sauces, say on pasta or pizza or what have you. But what about other pasta dishes? A spoonful mixed into your Spaghetti Aglio e Olio? For sure! A little bit in your Carbonara? Controversial perhaps but I do it, and it is terrific. What about all those Gnocchi you love from Trader Joe’s? Regular, cauliflower, kale, shelf stable or what have you… OMG folks, a dollop of this Bomba with garlic and good olive oil will make your gnocchi soar. Still, Bomba is more than “just for Italian” food. I put a little bit into my scrambled eggs. It’s divine with eggs of any kind. A drop of it onto of my buttered, toasted baguette is great. A little bit mixed into avocado toast or guacamole. Add a little bit of Bomba to your marinade for meat or chicken. Dips and sauces? Perfect. You can mix this up with some Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise for that matter) for an instant wonderful sauce, to top some cooked Chicken Breasts, Shrimp, or Tofu as well. Or try that mix as a dip for some chips. Drizzle some with olive oil and garlic on your roasted veggies. Add a spoon of this to your soup or most any sauce to give it some jazz. I even love it on cottage cheese on toast (no, seriously that’s really good). On my sardines on toast. I suggest adding some fresh garlic when using Bomba. Of course these two go very well together. Asian food?! OMG yes, yes, yes! Honestly the list of things and types of food Bomba can improve and go with is endless and I promise, you will discover uses on your own (please share some with us in the COMMENTS below). TJ’s Bomba is truly a premium gourmet offering. Amazingly Trader Joe’s sells this for $2.99 a jar, which is honestly incredible for such a product. Oh and it’s really Italian, it is a “Product Of Italy”. I have found it sold out on occasion as its a big hit. So if you like it, next time grab an extra jar to keep in the pantry like I do (but just one, leave some for me, and the next guy!) Ingredients are: Chilies, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil, Basil, Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid. Honestly even if you are not really the “hot sauce type” I suggest you get a jar of this to try. Calabrian chili’s are not super hot; they are in the “medium” spice level. People can pop them in their mouths easily. Personally I can’t live without having a jar of Bomba in the fridge now and if you try this, you may feel exactly the same.

TIP: I add a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil after I open the jar to “seal the top” off from air and keep it freshest for longer. Keep the jar in the fridge. Take it out 15 minutes before using if its congealed.

If you tried BOMBA and have any Comments feel free to share them.


17 Comments (+add yours?)

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  10. Batarang
    Apr 02, 2022 @ 18:33:41

    I add it to my roasted tomato and olive tapenade



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  13. Stefano Giovannini
    Sep 03, 2022 @ 11:38:33

    I love this. It is similar to the Harissa, which I liked better when I first tried the Bomba. But eventually, the Bomba has more complexity and richer flavor. Now I find the Harissa a bit bland and generic, and I switched to the Bomba, which now costs 30 cents more than the Harissa, same jar, same weight.

    Liked by 1 person


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