Habanero Hot Sauce ‡

The Habanero is among the most intensely piquant varieties of chiles (capsicum chinense) in existence. It is pronounced ah-bah-NEH-roh, but is sometimes (mis)spelled and (mis)pronounced Habañero, a hyperforeignism*. It is probably so named because it reportedly was first traded in the La Habana province of Cuba. As seen in the earlier chart, it is rated at 100,000 to 500,000 on the Scoville scale, which ordinarily causes intense and prolonged oral pain when ingested in undiluted form. At first, there is a hot, but delicate, plum-tomato, fruit-like, mouthwatering flavour. But then the piquancy intensifies and persists, so beware of that second taste until the first has been managed. Some commercial hot sauces made from Habeneros can literally bring you to your knees.

Happily, this recipe is not one of those, maybe because my supermarket sells a less piquant variety than the really hot ones, but probably because I dilute the capsaisin with other ingredients. To me, it generates about the same reaction as does McIlhenny’s Tabasco® sauce, but is much tastier and flaunts a brilliant, eye-appealing golden color. Once made, I use it almost daily thereafter, especially on my eggs at breakfast. But I found that it also is good on almost everything else, at least insofar as my experiments have led me to date. Maybe not ice cream.

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 tsp <salt>
  • 4 oz water
  • 2 oz light orange juice
  • 5 yellow Habanero chiles, stem removed
  • 4 oz white vinegar
  • 4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp <sugar>
  • ½ to 1 tsp guar gum

Sauté the onion and garlic in a saucepan with the oil until they are limp. Add the carrot, <salt>, and water. Bring up the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender and could be mashed. Add the chiles, vinegar, and juices, bring the heat up again to a simmer, and cook about one minute, until sanitized. Transfer this to a blender and process on high to liquify for about one minute. Then add the guar gum and blend for another minute or until the sauce appears thickened and smooth. Pour into hot sauce bottles or squeeze bottles, refrigerate, and enjoy!

Makes about 16 oz.

golly-ente caliente salsa

There are always those at my annual Holy Molé Frijole Posole Party who clamor for more heat than my ritual stew is prepared with so as to please the majority of the crowd. For those who clamor the loudest, I have on hand Dave’s Insanity®, sure to bring all but the bravest to their knees.

For others, not quite so daring, I have the following concoction, which is unmeasured on the Scoville scale, but is pretty pungent. It combines, to some degree, my Cilantro Sauce and Habanero Hot Sauce. Be careful. A little of this goes a long way.

  • 4 large or 5 to 6 regular sized jalapeño peppers
  • 4 serrano or habanero peppers
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz white vinegar
  • 1 tsp <salt>

Put everything in a blender on liquefy setting. Blend until puréed. Add a little more lemon and/or vinegar if needed to make the blender act like a blender.

Add to everything you eat that you want to spice up a just little more than Tabasco® does.