Reaper Uno Hot Sauce Recipe
Hot sauces, quite the hot topic these days. (get it? Hot Topic?). It has been the passion for many connoisseurs and enthusiasts who have taken to the streets to create impeccable hot sauce recipe by finding the best ingredients which go along well to make that hot sauce which serves as a dip as well as a marinade. I’m the new kid on the block, who has joined this crusade to innovate new and interesting recipes that I can share with everyone. I am still learning the ropes so any of what I wrote is not right, please do let me know. Here is my first ever recipe that I have created, it’s called the Reaper Uno hot sauce.
Why Reaper Uno?
Every hot sauce recipe I create will not have anything more than one Carolina Reaper Chilly Pepper accompanying the other key ingredients that make up the wonderful concoction called hot sauce.
What makes hot sauce, a hot sauce?
Here are, what I feel, the essential components that make up the core of any hot sauce:
- Chilli Peppers – heat factor
- Fruit – body and flavour factor
- Preservative – the catalyst and shelf life factor
- Additives – enhancement factor
A balanced combination of these determines the characteristics of the hot sauce you make. Fermentation is the next important aspect. When the key ingredients of the hot sauce ferment, the probiotics that develop during the process, break down the ingredients and get the essence of the ingredients flowing. Fermentation helps mellow down the heat of the peppers, thereby allowing you to enjoy the chilli flavours without too much heat.
Something to know before we start the journey to making reaper uno
Before we start prepping the ingredients, we need an airtight container, preferably a transparent one, so that you can see how the transparent brine changes colour. The change in colour serves as an indicator as to when you should be ready to blend the ingredients
I used a ceramic airtight jar. Coming from an Indian heritage, we use ceramic jars for pickling and fermentation because, ceramic jars keep the internal temperature at a stable level, not being affected too much by the outside temperature. The pickles that came out of these ceramic jars were awesome.
Let’s start making the hot sauce, shall we?
- Red Jalapenos- – 3 to 5
- Green Jalapenos – 3 to 5
- Red Cayenne – 3 to 5
- Carolina Reaper – 1
- Brown Onion – 1
- Pineapple – 3 – ½ inch slices
- Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves
- White Vinegar – 150 ml
- Water – Unchlorinated – 400ml
- Salt – 2 tablespoons
- Cracked Pepper – 1 tablespoon
Step 1 – Preparing the preservative for hot sauce ingredients
First, we need to prepare the brine solution which is going to act as both the preservative and fermentation agent.
- Take the airtight container and add water, salt and vinegar.
- Mix it thoroughly such that the salt completely dissolves, leaving a clear solution.
Step 2 – Prepping the hot sauce ingredients
It is important to clean all the ingredients by just cleaning them under running water as any dust, dirty or impurities can affect the outcome of the hot sauce recipe. Ensure all the chillies are just ripe but not too ripe.
- Cut the pineapple slices into wedges and grill them on a grill pan. If no grill pan, add some butter to a non-stick pan and sauté them until the pineapples are slightly charred, like having drill marks and let it cool down before chopping it up.
- Chop the chillies, onion and the pineapple into rough bits, do not chop them finely.
- Add the chopped ingredients to the brine and add the cracked pepper.
- Give it a nice swirl using a non-metallic spoon.
Step 3 – Fermenting the hot sauce ingredients
Why? Why is this guy so on and on about fermenting the ingredients, you may ask? Preserving foods has been an age-old tradition that mankind has been following in order to extend the shelf life of perishables. Meats are sundried and made into jerkies, cured in brine and made into ham. Vegetables and fruits are pickled.
As these processes have played a key role in preserving food, Fermentation is one such processes that have more health benefits and of course, you get to enjoy your favourite edible for a longer time. Fermentation helps bring out the flavour characteristics of the ingredients you use, thereby giving the end-product, a much more pleasant experience when you savour them.
When the ingredients for the hot sauce are fermented, it creates an anaerobic environment, an environment where no oxygen is present for bad bacteria such as rotting moulds cannot survive. Such an environment allows the good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics, to grow. These good bacteria digest the carbohydrates from the ingredients and produce acid as a by-product. It’s this acid that serves as the preservative. Then why the brine solution? The brine is what creates the environment for the good bacteria to grow and do what they do best.
And, back to the hot sauce fermentation step,
let it ferment for at least 5 to 7 days. The indication that it is ready to be blended is, the brine will change colours from transparent to slightly orange or red. If it turns red-orange, it is the best of indications that the fermentation is working well. During this time period, since I did not have a transparent jar, I used to open the jar and give a gentle swirl, not more than once a day.
Once the brine changes colour, strain the jar’s content, allowing the brine to flow into a separate bowl. The brine is now a key ingredient while preparing the sauce. By this time, the level of brine would have dropped, which is means the brine has well soaked into the peppers and pineapple.
Step 4 – Blending the hot sauce ingredients
I personally prefer a hot sauce that is a bit runny enough. This can act as a dip for chips, nuggets and whatever snack you wanna dip into and at the same time be thick enough to be used like marinade where the liquid aspect of the hot sauce helps seep into the meat well.
Put the strained content in a blender jar, a small amount of the brine and pulse it to the point where it’s blended fine enough but doesn’t look like pure. During the process of blending, keep adding the brine solution slowly so that the blend attains a consistency that you desire. Ideally, you should have very less to no brine left over, in case you are left with a decent amount, you can store it in a separate airtight jar and use it to make one hell-of-a salsa or even re-use it for the next batch. Just ensure it is refrigerated well.
Bonus step – Refrigerated fermenting and boiling down the hot sauce:
Once blended to your liking, the hot sauce is practically ready for consumption. Yet my recommendation is to put the hot sauce back into the airtight container and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours for the flavours to build up and the preservatives to kick into action. I left the ingredients to ferment for 15 days where the brine turned as red as the cayenne peppers. I used almost all of the brine to get the consistency that is a bit watery than most hot sauces are.
Additionally, I left the hot sauce to sit in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and observed it every week, sampling the sauce and testing its flavour. The change in colour indicated more flavour and heat started developing.
In case the hot sauce becomes too watery, heat up a saucepan and in simmering flame, let the hot sauce heat up so the excess brine evaporates until the consistency you desire is reached. Keep stirring so that the hot sauce doesn’t cook. In case you wish for a hot sauce consistency like that of a puree, blend the heated up hot sauce and let it cool down before bottling it and storing it
Enjoy this interesting recipe and let me know any quirks and improvisations you undertook to make your version more interesting. Let me know how your reaper uno hot sauce came out.