Peppers of all kinds have been flying at us fast and furious lately. So, inspired by a recipe for fermented peppers I came across in Lennox Hastie’s cookbook devoted to wood fire cooking, we set about creating our own fermented chilli sauce. The reason this recipe caught my eye was both its simplicity and the fact that it calls for a little whey to get it started. I happen to have whey around quite often as we make our own homemade ricotta cheese fairly regularly and I’m always looking for a good use for it. The fermentation process isn’t scary once you do it a couple of times and the depth of flavor it adds is tremendous. We’re only using a few ingredients in this recipe so its really the key to an interesting sauce. While you can do this with any kind of hot pepper, we happen to have habanero peppers in our garden. They are super fiery so we cut the heat by fermenting a whole bunch of sweet bell peppers along with just a few of the habanero peppers. We wanted a sauce that had some kick but didn’t set your hair on fire!
Fermented Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 lb Peppers – This can be a mix of sweet and hot peppers depending on your preference.
1 Ounce Whey
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Sugar
½ teaspoon Salt
More Sugar to taste
1) Wash the peppers and remove the stems. Roughly chop.
2) Place peppers and all remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend thoroughly.
3) Pour into a clean, non-reactive glass or plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
4) Place in a dark, cool place place in your house and allow to ferment approximately 3-5 days until bubbly with life. When doing this the first time take a look at it each day so you can get acquainted with the signs of fermentation (bubbles, etc…)
5) After 3-5 days, ladle the chili paste into a blender (in batches if need be) and blend thoroughly to create a more refined texture. Add a little additional sugar to balance the heat and some more salt if needed.
6) Place in the refrigerator and enjoy as needed! It will separate as it sits in the fridge, just give it a little shake before pouring. Commercial hot sauces often use xanthan gum (an emulsifier) to prevent this but really all it needs is a good shake!