I’ve had a container of dried red chili peppers sitting in the back of my pantry for a number of months now. It takes a long time to use up dozens of small peppers one or two at a time, by adding them to sauces or pickling liquids. I wanted to finish off my stock, and try my hand at making hot sauce.
Consult any recipe and you’ll learn that hot sauce is the combination of three, sometimes four, ingredients: chili peppers, vinegar, salt and sugar. I figured I would give it a go, improvising my preparation method and level of seasoning.
I simmered the dried peppers in water for 20 minutes to rehydrate them. Then I ground the peppers to a paste in a food processor. I transferred the paste to a blender and mixed the pepper paste with vinegar, salt and sugar. I blended the peppers on high speed for up to 5 minutes, adding vinegar until I reached the consistency I liked. Then I strained out the seeds and transferred the sauce to old hot sauce jars I had saved just for this project.
Traditionally, hot sauces age for at least a couple weeks before being used. My hot sauce is balanced but also very spicy. I’m curious to see how the flavors change.
I used Thai chilies in my sauce. Other options are tien tsin peppers, or, for a little less heat, arbols.
This recipe makes 2 cups of completed sauce, or enough to fill three 5-ounce bottles. One note: Avoid sticking your nose into the food processor or blender while preparing the sauce. This is a pretty contained process, but you will definitely have a sneeze attack if you do that. You won’t really be handling the chilies either, but remember to keep your hands away from your eyes.
- 3 cups (about 4 ounces) dried small red chili peppers
- 1 1/2 cups distilled vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar