Fermenting your own chilli sauce is dead easy, a bit scary and totally rewarding, with a little effort you can end up with your own signature chilli sauce and you’ll never buy Tabasco or Cholula again!
Scary, because it grows really wild looking stuff on the top, Easy because the hardest part is designing the label and Rewarding?… it’s your own chilli sauce, tailored to your taste, it doesn’t get better than that!
To tailor the taste, just add things to it before it ferments, I’ve done versions with, Garlic, with Ginger and with Star Anise (that’s good). This time I’m going to char the chillies before I start to get a bit of char flavour happening. Think about the flavours you want to develop and have a play!
Smoky Fermented Red Chilli Sauce.
Moscato (or similar) wine
Dashi (from an Asian Grocery)
And whatever other “signature” flavour you choose
Start by cutting the tops off the chillies. Then I blacken them in a pan to introduce some char flavour, and to sweeten the chilli flesh and enhance their flavour.
Place them in a food processor and buzz the heck out of them, I’ve got about a cup of smushed chilli and I add about a cup of the Moscatto then a spoon of the dashi and buzz again.
The Moscatto is slightly spritzig so still has some active yeast, but just in case, the dashi is fermented soy bean paste, and has buckets of live yeast culture!
Pour your blended mix into a sterile jar, fit the lid loosely and leave it in a place where you will see it every day! It’s going to ferment, it’ll bubble quite aggressively, not the first day, maybe not the second day but defiantly on the third day, make sure you don’t over fill the jar and make sure the lid is a little loose so it can “breathe”. When it gets going, this will be a bit of a surprise, this stuff does not muck about.
I cut a circle of smoker mat (Frogmat clone) to hold the chilli under the surface of the liquid, that was reasonably successful, but not entirely, the pressure from the fermenting chillies should not be underestimated!
Now is when weird stuff starts to grow on the top, spoon this out and discard it, don’t get too girly about it, you’ll never get it all out! It’s not poisonous, it’s just not a taste you want, get out what you can and stir the rest back into the chilli mix.
Do this every day, remember I said to put it somewhere you will see it!
Somewhere around two weeks later the bubbling and the white fungus will start to slow down, keep going for a couple of days.
Then put the brew in the fridge for a few days to a week, the cold of the fridge will slow the fermentation (which is almost finished anyway) and your “brew” will mature a bit before you bottle it!
When you are ready, strain the brew out through a fine sieve and bottle into appropriate sterilised bottles.
I just use Baby Bottle steriliser from the supermarket, if it’s good enough for babies, then it works for me!
Whack a label on your bottle and your Fermented Chilli Sauce is good to go!
Keep the leftover chilli pulp, I have a plan for that! You could just keep it in the fridge and sprinkle it on your food for the next few days, that’s worth doing, I’ve done that before!