Fermented chilli sauce

I recently tried a second time to make fermented chilli sauce. 

First time I spent a tenner on chillis and ended up with a mouldy Kilmer jar of toxic mess.

This time it has cured. It’s been out of the fridge for over a week and it hasn’t so much as a spore on it. Oh and it tastes good too, if good means inedibly hot.


The secret was (I think) using sauerkraut as a starter.

So. I bought £6 of scotch bonnet chillis, probably about half a kilo. 

I’d made sauerkraut about two weeks beforehand (a red cabbage, shredded, salted and packed down in a sterilised jar, left with a lose lid and room temperature for three days, packed down every day, then sealed and left on the fridge, occasionally checking to avoid explosions).

To make the sauce I first blanched the chillis. I doubt this was necessary, but they’d been in a cash and carry in Brixton for yonks and had a couple of plumes of mould here and there. I stuck them in a colander and dipped them into boiling water for 30 secs then rinsed them in cold water to stop them cooking.

Once cool, the rest was easy. I whizzed the lot in a food processor with a teaspoon of sugar and one of salt and generous tablespoons of sauerkraut, then stuck it in a jar.

This is a bit more needy than other fermentations. I left it on the side for about 5 days, stirring once a day and covering the jar with a loose fitting lid. The fermentation was VERY vigorous: lots of bubbles, slight risk of explosion.

Once it calmed down, I put in the fridge, now it seems fine out.

The sauce is insanely hot, but you can still taste the pepper and the fermentation under the insanity. The red cabbage intensifies the colour as well as having the right microbes to get the party started.

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