Some things you may or may not know about me…
1. I’m afraid of the dark. Like deathly afraid. I sleep with the TV on, for fear that if I do turn it off, some monster underneath my bed might snatch and take me to another dimension. A dimension with no cookies or brownies.
2. I will, without hesitation, make someone else check out a noise. I don’t care if its my 5 year old daughter. For reason read #1.
3. It’s not like I want to get abducted by aliens, but should it ever happen I’m going to negotiate superpowers; at the very least the ability to do complex mathematical equations in my head.
4. I like it hot. Food, I mean. I sprinkle tabasco sauce on my eggs, on anything, really. I’ve even made my own sriracha.
But this – This habanero sauce is some next level ish. Habaneros are HOT. To put it in perspective, ranking 10 of the hottest peppers, they rank #3. That’s hot like a mofo.
Why wouldn’t I make a hot sauce with them, right?
Flow with me, I’ve got a short story.
Way, way, waaaaaay back in the day (2001), I went on a trip to Belize. I swam with sharks, I inner tubed a cave… All the touristy stuff one does. I don’t remember the food much – However, I do remember on every table of every restaurant I visited there was a bottle of habanero hot sauce, ranging from mild to hot like a mofo. I brought back at least a years supply.
I haven’t been back to Belize, but I still remember their hot sauce. It was sweet, tangy, and very hot. Perfect for me, perfect to recreate at home.
I chopped and fermented about 15 (!) habanero peppers with carrots, mangoes, garlic and sugar. For DAYS. DAYS!
Then I processed the whole thing and cooked it down until thickened.
Now is where I admit, it got fume-y (totally a word) up in my house. Like we were coughing for hours, fumes. Like I had to open windows and doors, fumes. Like this should be registered as a weapon, fumes. So word of advice: When you cook this sauce down make sure your kitchen is VERY well ventilated. Or use less habanero peppers. Otherwise you’re going to be coughing for AT LEAST an hour.
On the other hand…This sauce is the S***. It is sweet (duh, mangoes!), and it is tangy. I’m not even going to lie – Habanero sauce is HOT! HOT enough to REALLY feel it, yet the flavors will keep you coming back for more. Because that’s what hot sauce does to you. Or to me, rather. But I really hope it does the same to you.
You’ll be torn. In more ways than one… But sort of in a good way…
In a food processor, place peppers, garlic cloves, mango, carrots, sugar, and kosher salt. Pulse until the peppers are finely chopped, but not blended. If you don't own a food processor, you can dice the peppers and the garlic finely by hand with a paring knife, and then stir in the sugar and salt. Be sure to wear gloves – Habanero peppers are hot!
Transfer the chopped pepper mixture to a clean jar. Seal the jar, but not too tightly. Store the mixture in a dark place, like a cabinet.
Once a day, check the jar for fermentation. Fermentation begins when you see tiny little bubbles at the bottom of the jar. This can take anywhere from 2-3 days. Stir the contents once a day until the mixture is no longer rising in volume. This step can take anywhere from 5-6 days. At this point you can transfer to the refrigerator for a couple of weeks to continue fermenting or you can process it.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, add the vinegar, orange and lemon juice. Puree until completely smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan pressing on the solids to release all the liquid. The strainer should be left with seeds, large pepper, carrot, and mango chunks. Discard the solids.
Bring the hot pepper liquid mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Allow it to simmer for 20-30 minutes until the liquid has reduced and thickened or desired consistency has been reached. Carefully transfer your habanero sauce to an airtight container and IMMEDIATELY seal, making sure it doesn't spill. I spilled some and we couldn't enter the kitchen until I opened a window. Store in the refrigerator. This sauce will last well over 6 months.