Truth be told, I am actually kind of a wimp when it comes to hot peppers. So it seems a bit odd to me that I decided to try my hand at making my own hot sauces. But I am crazy about all things homemade, so I guess it’s not really too surprising. And it’s even better when the main ingredients come from my own garden.
I guess I could blame it all on Liz from Suburban Tomato. Earlier this year she posted a couple of recipes for homemade Sambal Oelek. That definitely got me to thinking about making something similar. But I had already been researching how to make a green jalapeno sauce, as well as a fermented hot sauce like Tabasco. So this year I made sure I had plenty of hot peppers planted, including jalapeno, serrano, cayenne, ancho, Thai bird, and my very own Hot Happy Yummy. And with many of them starting to ripen about now, it was time to embark on my very own Hot Sauce Adventure!
I decided to start with a sauce I always have on hand: Chili Garlic Sauce. I usually get the Huy Fong Foods brand – you know, the one with the rooster on the jar. It has a great flavor, keeps forever in the frig, and a little bit adds flavor (and heat) to lots of dishes. I’ve seen recipes for both cooked and uncooked versions of this sauce, but I decided to try a raw version to start with.
I made this first batch with a mix of ripe serrano, jalapeno, and cayenne peppers, with one ripe orange Hot Happy Yummy thrown in for good measure. You can use any ripe hot peppers you might have on hand, or can find in the market. Needless to say, hotter peppers will make for a hotter sauce. You can add a sweet bell pepper if you want to make a milder sauce. It is advisable to always wear latex or rubber gloves when working with hot peppers. I learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago! The peppers will not only burn your hands, but you can also burn your eyes or other sensitives parts of your body if your hands touch them.
This sauce came together in no time. I removed the green stems from the peppers, then gave them a coarse chop with a knife before adding to a small food processor. After adding the chopped garlic (I used a garlic press), sugar, salt and vinegar, I pulsed the processor a few times and it was done. The finished product fit perfectly in a half-pint jar.
This sauce is supposed to get better after it ages for a few days, but of course I couldn’t wait to try it out. It was tasty on a bean burrito, adding a little (more) heat and a nice flavor. It went well on a baked potato too. And I added some the other night to my Curried Meatballs that I served in a jarred Jalfrezi sauce, which gave them a nice little extra kick of heat. The weather’s a little hot for me to be wanting soup right now, but it would be great in Hot and Sour Soup. And of course it would work well in stir fry dishes and curries.
Since this is my first time making this sauce, I really have no idea how long it will safely keep. The salt and vinegar will act as a preservative, so I am thinking it will keep for at least a month if kept covered and refrigerated. But don’t bet the farm on that! If it starts to get moldy, or develop a funny smell, I’m throwing it away, and you should too.
I’ve got another hot sauce in the works. Actually, it is ‘cooking’ away right now. It should be ready in a week or so, and I’ll be back with the recipe then.