Homemade Hot Sauce.
I absolutely love spicy food. Whenever I have a plate of food before me, I will always ask myself whether or not this can be accompanied by a hot sauce and 9/10 I will find a way to incorporate it. However I am geographically challenged and I do find that our UK ways have pushed us away from hot sauce and that locating such spicy splendour is somewhat of a challenge. Admittedly, the presence of spicy sauce has become more commercial these days and certain hot sauces can be located in local supermarkets, however the quantities and range are questionable.
My hot sauces of choices are Frank’s Original and unfortunately in the UK, I am always limited to buying the smaller bottles. However, last year when I was in Miami, I happened to find an industrial size bottle in a Publix supermarket and swiftly commenced to smuggling it home in my suitcase. I tend to funnel this into small, empty jam jars and keep in my bag (but no… seriously) because I’ll often be caught upside my head on a lunch in work where sometimes, damn it, the food will just need a kick.
Secondly, it has to be Sriracha. The challenges I used to face that my City would throw at me for sourcing Sriracha were unfair. However on a long weekend trip to Brighton last year, I came across a Vietnamese supermarket that stocked huge bottles of the stuff and again, stocked up. Admittedly, I have found that South Wales was quite slow to jump on the Sriracha bandwagon but they have become increasingly better. Any of those in Cardiff currently struggling to locate this spicy, syrupy Vietnamese ketchup – the Tesco Express on St. Mary’s Street stocks small battles. Go stock up!
Which brings me to my own creation. This hot sauce of mine came as a total accident when I was trying to blend chilies and lime juice together to create a spicy drizzle to pour over some fried halloumi. Eventually the recipe developed and the more I added to it, the more I realised I was creating a balanced Sriracha style sauce. I added several different components in order to ensure the balance of sweet and spicy was perfect, however a key note in any sauce or ketchup has to be acidity and sourness.
The complexity of acidity in a hot sauce is what differentiates it from the food it is adorning. Without the sourness, a sauce essentially becomes a coating, but once a sour or acid ingredient is introduced, your taste buds immediately can separate the condiment to the food and you are able to enjoy both separately whilst still benefitting from them both.
There is no real recipe here – it’s essentially just a processing and jarring of ingredients. Throw a few chilies into a processor. I keep the seeds of my chilies in the pepper as I do like my hot sauces to blow my neck apart however if you want something a little more forgiving on the palette, by all means remove the seeds. To this add a thumb sized piece of ginger (scraping the skin off beforehand).
To the process add a clove of garlic, a small pinch of all spice and some caster sugar. Follow this with the juice of one lime (and a little zest), some a shotglass of sunflower oil and then a pinch of sea salt. Blend everything together. This will initially create a frothy, dark pink sauce but don’t worry – this is supposed to happen. Pour this into an empty jar, or a Tupperware box with a tight fitting lid, and allow to settle for roughly 2 hours before using.
This hot sauce is perfect for anything. I mean that. I have had this in my work bag for quite some time and have poured it over everything. It’s fantastic with some meat and rice, however I have also used this as a loose chutney and had it with bread and cheese. But I say all this to say that unfortunately this post does highlight me as a neurotic food type. The kind that carries condiments around. This, dear reader, is what I have become. Make of that what you will.
But just like Beyonce, I too have hot sauce in my bag. Therefore, this is my swag.