If you are living under a rock, this is what you are missing on – Fermented hot sauce! What is fermented hot sauce? Fermented hot sauce is a spicy, slightly acidic sauce made by fermenting hot chilis and other ingredients together in a jar or crock. Over time, flavor will deepen, growing more and more complex and more acidic as beneficial bacteria go to work.
So now that you know what it is, let’s learn how to make it fermented chilli sauce!
Recipe – 1
A simple delicious recipe for Fermented Hot Sauce using fresh summer chilies, with no special equipment and only 20 minutes of hands on time!
- Saltwater Brine: ( 1 1/4 teaspoon salt per 1 cup of warm water)
- 5 cups filtered water, lukewarm (see notes)
- 6 1/4 teaspoons finely ground sea salt (or Pink Himalayan salt) – use 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, per 1 cup of water.
- 2 Quart Mason Jar Fillings:
- 1 pound chili peppers, sliced in half (about 6–7 cups) seeds removed, see notes
- 1 carrot, very thinly sliced (do not peel)
- 4–6 garlic cloves, cut into quarters
- 1–2 shallots, sliced (or ½ an onion)
- After fermenting, add optional seasonings to taste. Keep in mind the “heat” will mellow with age.
optional: herbs (oregano, cilantro, celery leaves) and spices (cumin, coriander, chipotle powder, smoked paprika)
1–3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, (optional- for extra tang and for more healthy probiotics)
honey or sugar to taste (optional, good if making Sriracha style)
If your hot sauce is not hot enough, you can always add cayenne or ground chipotle to taste. Free free to add spices ( 1/2- 1 teaspoon) cumin, coriander, chipotle, allspice, etc. Make this your own.
Heat the water and stir the sea salt into the warm water until dissolved. Let cool to lukewarm.
Wearing gloves, slice the small hot peppers in half, and remove stems and seeds if you like (for less heat). I left the seeds in mine. If adding bell peppers to temper the heat, cut into thin strips. Thinly slice the carrot (do not peel), slice the shallots, and slice the garlic.
Layer all into a 2-quart mason jar. Pour the saltwater brine into the jar over the chilies, pressing them down under the liquid. If you need to add more brine, remember to use the ratio of 1 1/4 teaspoon salt per 1 cup of water.
Weight the chilies down with fermentation weights (or use a small ziplock bag filled with water, to weigh the veggies down). You want the veggies completely submerged under the brine. Cover loosely with a lid ( or cheesecloth and rubber band) and place the jar in a pan or bowl to collect any liquid that may bubble over. The lid is loose here so gasses can escape easily, but no creatures can get in.)
Place in a cool dark place, like the basement, (or the bottom cupboard in the kitchen) for 5-7 days or until signs of fermentation.
On day 5: Check for fermentation: Tap the container and see if any tiny bubbles rise to the surface, check for a cloudy brine ( see notes) or check the bowl underneath, to see if there was any overflow. All signs of activity. If you see signs, you can blend the sauce at this point or let if go a little longer (a good idea if using very hot peppers) up to you. And you can always ferment longer for even more flavour! The longer the ferment, typically the tangier this will become, and the more mellow the heat. If no signs of fermentation, give it a couple more days- then check to troubleshoot in notes.
After 5-7 days and signs of fermentation, strain and SAVE the brine. Place the fermented peppers, onions, garlic, and carrots into a blender. Add 1 cup of the brine and blend until smooth as possible. this may take a couple of minutes. Add the vinegar if using, (and honey if you prefer a sweeter hot sauce like Sriracha), and more brine to desired thickness. At this point, you can blend in optional spices and herbs. ( 1/2-1 teaspoon spices, 1-2 tablespoons fresh herbs).
Don’t be alarmed if it is overly spicy- the heat level will significantly mellow with time, as it continues to ferment in the fridge after 1-2 weeks. Place in a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge, leaving the tip open (or loose) for gasses to escape.
Do not place in a sealed jar unrefrigerated– this will result in an explosion– and a great big mess- as the hot sauce is still alive and fermenting! BE WARNED! I have the best luck with using squeeze bottles and leaving the cap off in the fridge.
If transporting to a friend as a gift, it is ok to seal for short periods of time (a few hours) but make sure to tell them to refrigerate it and loosen the lid, very soon after receiving.
The flavours will continue to develop and get more complex over time, the heat mellowing.
To use, cover the tip of the opening with your finger and give a shake before using.
This will keep up to 12 months in the fridge (probably even longer!).
WATER: Regular tap water may contain too much chlorine it, inhibiting the fermentation process (although our tap water works fine). If fermentation is not happening, you may want to try filtered water.
SALT: I use fine ground sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt. If using coarse ground salt you may need to add a pinch more.
Peppers: Use any chilli pepper you like or a blend of different peppers (in the same colour palate). To temper, the heat, feel free to add similar colored bell pepper -substitute sweet red, yellow, or green bell pepper. Keep in mind, you will be blending the sauce, so I perfect to stick with the same colour scheme to make a vibrant coloured sauce.
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