The minute I read or hear the word chili, I turn and run the other way, or make someone else (Kaeli) taste the food first to let me know how hot/spicy it is. Given, I have improved over the last year, but I’m still 100% a wuss when it comes to chili. I have to psych myself up and run through all the benefits of chilli in my head first before I can even think about eating it. But this hot sauce has changed a lot of things for me and has brought me to the realisation that I don’t mind hot sauce, I simply like it to add to the flavour of my food, and not singe my tastebuds and keep me from tasting anything ever again – see, still a wuss, but we’ll get there.
The flavour of chilis is often dependant on a few variables; where they’re grown, the time of year, and even how long it took to get from the farm to your kitchen, so I’d advise being on the cautious side, you can always add heat, but trying to get rid of the heat is a whole other ball game. Habanero peppers were once considered the hottest pepper in the world, this may no longer be the case, but they still pack incredible heat and even better flavour. What makes them so special though, are the citrus and fruit-like undertones you’ll find lurking inside each one of these flavourful gems. The heat in these peppers originates from a chemical called capsaicin and because of the high concentration found in habanero peppers they promote a wide range of health benefits.
One that I found most fascinating; was their ability to combat obesity. Studies have shown that capsaicin increases thermogenesis throughout the body. – Thermogenesis is the process where the body raises its temperature or energy output, which in turn increases your metabolism. This might sound like something small, but a small change that boosts your metabolism is something that should excite us all and not only because it helps prevent and fight obesity, but because when your metabolism is functioning at it’s best it allows your body to detox and efficiently metabolise all the foods you consume for the day. When a fruit or vegetable surpasses the Vitamin C content of an orange I get really excited, not because I don’t like oranges but because it breaks this mold that people can sometimes get stuck in – I can almost hear my gran telling me to drink some orange juice if I’m feeling slightly under the weather. One habanero peppers contain 6 times the amount of Vitamin C than an orange making it the absolutely perfect addition to your winter stews and soups to combat colds or even respiratory problems.
Little facts like what we just mentioned above are what keeps me coming back to all types of chillies and peppers, they’re a powerhouse of nutrients, they say dynamite comes in small packages, and it couldn’t be truer than for chillies – I mean the spiciest chillies are the smallest ones.
1. Prepare all Those Fresh Ingredients.
The fresher your ingredients, the tastier your hot sauce will be. Habanero peppers elongate as they ripen and have a unique, citrus-like taste which is why we favour them for hot sauces and all our other culinary needs. When prepping your peppers remember that for habanero peppers the heat arent in the seeds, the heat is in the white pithy part of the pepper. If you prefer your hot sauce on the extremely spicy side, I’d suggest adding extra seeds and pith. If like me, and you’re a little afraid of the heat, start by adding the seeds and pith of only 1 pepper, you can always advance to 2 with your next batch. and trust us, there will be the next batch.
2. Blend, Pulse, and Blend again.
It might not like seem like an important step that needs more explaining, but I beg to differ. Nothing is worse than adding some hot sauce to your burger and finding a crunchy seed you can’t bite through, or a stringy piece of carrot left behind from your lazy blending and pulsing. Make sure your mixture is smooth and everything has blended and combined to a silky smooth consistency.
We often talk about how flavours of ingredients change when you cook, cool and even freeze them, this could not be more important than when making hot sauce. First tim round I completely forgot to cook the hot sauce at all, this left us with an intense and overpowering taste of garlic. This is easily remedied by simmering all the ingredients together. Not only does it lower the intensity of the garlic but it also helps all the flavours to combine and really work together to give you that depth that you’re looking for in the hot sauce.
4. Bottle Up.
Once you’re all done simmering and combining those flavours, let the sauce cool down before bottling it all up. Using a squeeze bottle is usually the better choice, but for cleaning and re-using purposes we usually go for glass jars with a wider rim. In an airtight container, this sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 7 weeks, and that’s only if you can resist the urge to add it to everything.
- 3 Mangoes Skin removed
- 4 Habanero Peppers seeds removed from all peppers except 1
- 1-2 Chilies deseeded
- 1 cup Carrots shredded
- 1 White Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 3 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 Lemon Juiced
Add mango flesh (not the giant pit), peppers, carrots, spring onions, and garlic cloves to a food processor and pulse until completely smooth. You might want to give it a stir halfway.
Transfer your smooth mixture to a medium saucepan and add your lemon juice, salt and rice vinegar. Cook on medium heat until the sauce starts boiling, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. This helps reduce the strong taste of garlic.
Remove from heat and let cool and strain if you find the mixture to have any remaining seeds. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. This sauce can be kept for up to 7 weeks.