What do you get when you combine mashed chilis, white vinegar, and a little salt? A homemade hot sauce with super-fresh, vibrant flavor that beats the pants off of anything store bought. At least so says the Mouse.
Some things are too good to resist. For those of you who don’t know me that well, I should preface this by saying: I have a serious make-your-own streak in me.
The simplest answer is: Because I can. Making stuff is always at least half the fun for me. I’m one of those folks who truly loves to play with my food.
So, all that said…last month, I kept going back to a recent issue of Saveur, which has a mouthwatering recipe for a Tabasco-y sounding, white vinegar-based hot sauce.
My only problem? I couldn’t find red chilis anywhere in Boston. I did get my paws on some beautiful jalapenos and serranos, though, so I used those and improvised a green hot sauce.
And man, is it hot!
This hot sauce is very thin and has a clean and true jalapeno flavor. Serranos, which are a little hotter than jalapenos, give the sauce a fiery boost and deepen the chili flavor.
I have a pretty big kitchen garden in the summers, and I can’t wait to make hot sauce from my own peppers.
Hot sauce is personal: Pick your own peppers
I used a mix of jalapenos and serranos this time. Mainly because I like those flavors a lot, and I found super fresh peppers. By all means, use a combination of any chilis you like.
Keep heat in mind. (i.e. Don’t use 100% habeneros, one of the hottest peppers out there, unless you’re shooting for a melt-your-face-off hot sauce.)
Not sure which peppers are hot and which are, well, not? Look them up on the Scoville scale, a standard heat index for peppers.
Fiery Green Hot Sauce: The basic technique
Here’s the basic technique. Use a ratio of 1 pound of chilis to 2 cups of white vinegar.
+Chop and salt the peppers.
+Age mixture for 2 days.
+Age another 5 days.
+Strain and bottle.
Read on for a step-by-step photo explanation of how to do this.
Fiery Green Hot Sauce
.8 lbs. jalapenos
.2 lbs. serrano chilis
3 Tbls. kosher salt
2 cups distilled white vinegar
Fiery Green Hot Sauce: Wash and chop your chilis
Grab your peppers. Rinse them in cold water and wipe them completely dry.
Cut off the stem off of each pepper.
Discard all those stems.
You’re going to use the rest of the whole pepper: flesh, ribs, and seeds.
Toss all your peppers into the bowl of your food processor.
Add the salt to the bowl.
Cap your food processor.
Turn your machine on and process until the peppers are finely chopped.
You want it to be chopped to a pulp, like this:
Scrape the chopped peppers out into a very clean bowl.
You should have a mound of pepper pulp plus some liquid. That’s just fine.
Fiery Green Hot Sauce: Let the salted chilis ripen for 2 days
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set it in a cool dark place to ripen for 2 days.
Fiery Green Hot Sauce: Add the vinegar to the salted chilis
After 2 days, uncover the peppers. The mixture will be thicker and have less liquid than it originally did.
Transfer the chilis to another, larger (and super-clean) bowl.
Add the vinegar.
Whisk to combine well.
Your hot sauce should have about this consistency:
Cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Set in a cool, dark place. Let age for 5 days.
After a few days, your hot sauce should start to darken. After 5 days, my hot sauce looked like this (not nearly as vibrant, but man, is it good):
Fiery Green Hot Sauce: Strain and bottle your hot sauce
After 5 days, you’re ready to strain and bottle your hot sauce. Set a strainer over a large bowl.
Pour the hot sauce through the strainer.
All your solids will wind up in the strainer.
Press the chili pulp with the back of a spoon to smoosh out any remaining liquid.
The hot sauce in your bowl should look about like this:
Set a funnel in the top of a clean bottle or jar. (I saved and used the bottle from the white vinegar.) Ladle or pour the hot sauce slowly through the funnel into the bottle.
Cap your hot sauce with a tight-fitting lid. Keep in the fridge for about 6 months or so.
The hot sauce will separate a little in the fridge. Just give it a little shake before using.