feelin’ hot! hot! hot!

It’s mid-October and believe it or not I’m still harvesting cayenne peppers from my garden. To say I’ve had a bumper crop this year would be an understatement! I’ve used my homegrown peppers to kick up the heat in everything from scrambled eggs, turkey chili and curried peanut chicken to sautéed shrimp, collard greens, grits and even salad. I’ve given them to friends and neighbors and popped a bunch into the freezer, and I’ve still got oodles more to find a use for. I happen to love spicy food, so this isn’t entirely the cumbersome task I’m making it out to be, but I really was beginning to worry that I was close to running out of tasty ideas. Then I had an epiphany— how about homemade hot sauce!

I personally think hot sauce is a fantastic and often underrated condiment. But, what I don’t like is hot sauce that’s all heat and zero flavor. My favorite is Sriracha, a Thai sauce made of chili peppers, vinegar, a bit of sugar and lots of garlic. And so Sriracha I would make…

Sriracha (Chili & Garlic Hot Sauce)
This sauce is HOT, garlicky and fantastically flavorful. The recipe doesn’t make a tremendous amount, but all you need to a little to really bring on the heat.

20 whole fresh cayenne peppers
1 medium head of garlic
1 tsp. pink salt
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. water
4 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. corn starch, dissolved in 3 tbsp. water

  1. Remove all the pepper stems and roughly slice. Chop the garlic and place in a small saucepan along with the peppers, salt, sugar, water and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in water and add to the saucepan. Allow to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  3. Place the cooked hot sauce in the bowl of a food processor and allow to run for 5 minutes. Pour into a small jar, allow to cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator for 3 days before enjoying.

*adapted from pham fatale


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