I really love hot sauce. A few years ago I started making my own hot sauce from recipes I made up myself. I looked at a few sample recipes but mainly just experimented with the basic ingredients that make up hot sauce, which are really just:
- Chiles (dry or fresh)
Anything else you add brings extra flavor, which could be things like fresh garlic or onions, spices or even nuts or seeds.
I keep a notebook of recipes that I started numbering from #1. Â I would make up a new batch, number it, and then bring it to work for my co-workers to try. Â Some batches were great, while others were just ok. Â A few were really bad. Â A few of my closest co-workers got really hooked on the hot sauce and used to ask for more by batch number. Â One of the most common requests I got was for batch #19, which is based on fresh orange habaneros, onion, and carrots. Â It’s hot but really good.
After I moved to NYC in 2010 I stopped making hot sauce for a while since my kitchen was a bit smaller and I didn’t have good ventilation (which is critical!) Â I recently decided to make up a batch of an old favorite recipe, Â #27. Â That recipe previously involved cooking fresh orange habaneros on the barbecue until they were blackened. Â Since I don’t have any outdoor space or a bbq now, I used a cast iron skillet to get some color on the habaneros. Â I also couldn’t find orange habaneros in the fall so used green ones. Â They didn’t seem nearly as hot as the orange ones but still packed a lot more heat than a jalapeno. Â The final sauce was still really tasty!!!
Here is the rough recipe:
- About 30 orange or green habaneros (washed, whole)
- One sweet onion (peeled and cut in half)
- Four garlic cloves (peeled)
- One tablespoon of salt (to taste)
Put habaneros into a cast iron skillet or on the barbecue until they start getting blackened a bit. Â Add the onion and garlic and cook until habaneros are soft and well charred. Â Onion should be soft. Â Garlic will still be firm but have a bit of charring. Â Remove stem and core from habaneros by pulling the stem with your fingers while holding the habanero with a fork or something besides your hands (since you want to keep skin contact to a minimum.) Â It should come out fairly easily. Â Don’t worry about leaving seeds or some of the core. Â Add habaneros, onion and garlic into a blender or food processor and add vinegar and water (50/50) until there is just enough for it to blend well. Â Blend until fairly smooth.
Dump the blender into a strainer and pass the mixture through to remove any remaining seeds and skin. Â Press this well with a spoon to make sure you get all the good stuff. Â Add vinegar and water until the remaining mixture is about the consistency of hot sauce. Â It will thicken a bit when it sits so it can be on the thin side.
Now comes the fun part. Â Add about a teaspoon of the salt and taste. Â It’s going to be hot. Â Keep adding salt until it tastes slightly salty. Â Keep some cold water or milk handy while you’re doing this. Â It’s going to be a lot hotter right now than it will be in a week so just hang in there. Â You might also need to add extra vinegar if you like it a little more sour. Â Once it tastes right, bottle it and keep it in the refrigerator. Â There should be enough salt and vinegar to keep anything from growing in it, even at room temperature, but it will likely last longer in the fridge.