This recipe was a long time coming. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that my husband has a thing for spicy food, so this hot sauce (and/or this spicy ‘compote’) is something that I make all of the time and is always in our fridge.
I guess I was waiting for a week during this end of summer time, when so many of the most exciting local fruits and veggies are at their best, to find room in my heart for something as everyday as hot sauce. Evidently this was the year, and I hope you find it to be worth the wait.
When you have cancer and are going through/recovering from treatment, hot sauce is probably not very high on the list of things you want to have going into (or coming out of) your body. Generally, you want nourishing, comforting recipes like this or this, not food-fire to aggravate your physically and emotionally stressed out body parts.
However, I know from experience that often when people are diagnosed and start to change their diet and lifestyle, they start to look at the diet and lifestyle of those they love too. Besides your own health, nothing provokes healthy change enthusiasm more than the health of our loved ones.
So this recipe is for you if you still buy your hot sauce but have started reading labels, or it’s a recipe to forward to (or make for) your kids, partner, roommate, good friend, neighbour who waters your plants or favourite co-worker.
What they will think they are getting: really flavourful hot sauce, handmade by one of their favourite people who remembered that they love spicy food.
What they are actually getting: all of that plus the active probiotics that the fermentation step brings, organic, local chilies that are at the top of their nutrition game with an abundant of vitamin C (red chilies) or vitamin A (green chilies) and antioxidants, a boost in blood and chi circulation, help with bronchial problems, colds, fevers and varicose veins (this isn’t generally a cancer problem, but a pesky pregnancy problem) (I know two people who will be getting a jar of this), and protection from some carcinogens.
And that’s before we even get into the mineral-rich (but not detectable in flavour) seaweed, the anti-inflammatory powers of fresh turmeric (not overly detectable either, if anything it gives this a mustard vibe), and from the allium family of cancer-crushers, red onions and garlic (although raw, they are pickled in the fermentation process, so not too pungent and just add a savory hug).
Different chilies, of course, bring different nutrients and they also bring different levels of heat. These red ones (I don’t know the name but I buy them every year at our local farmers market) are supposed to be hotter than jalapeños but I chose the jalapeños with the rough brown lines on them (actual stretch marks from growing too fast):
which indicate they will be extra spicy, so they were way hotter than the red ones. Feel free to mix and match to suit your taste or even throw in some bell peppers to cut the heat and sweeten things up.
A practical reason to include some green chilies is so that you can see when the natural lactic acid starts to form during the fermentation process. When the green chilies essentially get pickled, they will turn browny-green (picture anything green and pickled, the vibrant green colour is always the first to go). This is how you know the fermentation is happening.
There is some irony in warning you to think of your colon before dousing your Sweet Potato Avocado Toast with this, when it’s so full of friendly colon-loving bacteria, but the heat can be too much if you’ve been going through treatment, so be careful. It does last for several months though, so you could make it now with the farmers’ market chilies and gaze at it in your fridge until you feel ready for it.
I wanted to include some links to recipes to try out this hot sauce on, but the truth is, this $h#t tastes good on everything. But especially:
Crispy Cauliflower and Broccoli
Summer Vegetable Minestrone Soup
Veggie Sushi Bowl
Tomato-Baked Lentil-stuffed Eggplant
Quinoa Veg Bowl with Garlic ‘Butter’
Kabocha Squash & Black-eyed Pea Chili
And so many more
- 300g Chili Peppers (any type or mixture of chili peppers), cut into 1 inch pieces
- ½ Red Onion, large diced
- 1-2 Garlic Cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1-2 inches Fresh Turmeric, sliced
- 2 Tbsp Dulse or Macro Kelp
- 4 Black Peppercorns (to enhance turmeric absorption)
- 3 c Water
- 2 Tbsp Sea Salt (we used Himalayan)
- (if you need to make a little more, the ratio is 2 tsp salt:1 c water)
- In a small pot, heat the water and add the salt, stirring on medium/low heat until the salt dissolves.
- Add it to the rest of the water (in a bowl or jug?) to bring everything back to room temperature-ish.
- In a large jar, crock or mason jars, put the onions, garlic, turmeric, topped by the chopped chili peppers.
- Pour the room temperature brine over top until covered (make a little more if you need to, to cover it).
- Weigh it down with fermenting weights or a cabbage or lettuce leaf (that must be submerged too) any weight works, just be sure it's not metal, which reacts with ferments.
- Cover with a loose-fitting lid (or a proper fermentation lid if you have one), leave out of the direct sun for 3-5 days, depending on how warm it is (the warmer, the faster it will ferment) and how thick the walls of your chilies are and how big you cut them, checking on it from time to time to make sure everything is submerged and to remove floaties (or re-submerge them).
- After a few days, you'll notice the brine goes cloudy and if you use green chilies, you will notice they lose their vibrant green colour and turn brownish. This means that the acidity is now present, and your ferment is ready (otherwise, just smell or taste for acidity).
- Strain the liquid from the solids.
- Put the solids, plus the seaweed and the peppercorns and add as much of the liquid to make it easy to blend and then add more until your hot sauce is at the desired consistency (you'll probably use half of the liquid).
- Store in a glass jar in the fridge for for 3-4+ months (and shake/stir before using).
- The leftover liquid can be stored in your fridge for the next batch or used as a spicy addition to pasta sauces, vinaigrettes, or my favourite, put sliced cucumbers and onions in it in your fridge for quick & tasty pickles. (Fruit flies love that liquid, so work fast or all you'll have is pickled fruit flies...)