Spicy Fermented Chilli Sauce

By Kate Walsh

Spicy Fermented Chilli Sauce

This, very simply, is the only chilli sauce you will ever need. Based on a simple recipe in my book for capsicum chilli sauce, this version uses the same process but only chillies. I simply fermented a big bag of chillies (gifted from my mates at Food Connect in Brisbane) in a 5% brine for a few days and then blended it. Magic! I also had some garlic flowers hanging around so I used them for flavour. Once you've mastered this basic recipe, feel free to use just capsicums (roasted), different types of chillies or a combination. 

INGREDIENTS
11⁄2 tablespoons sea salt

1 litre (35 oz/4 cups) water
4 cups of a combination of raw chillies  
2 garlic cloves
5 red capsicums (peppers)

60 ml (2 oz/1⁄4 cup) olive oil,
plus extra for sealing the jar



EQUIPMENT
large pouring jug roasting tin
large bowl plastic wrap sharp knife
1 x 2 litre (64 oz) jar
food processor or hand-held blender ne-mesh sieve
2 x 750 ml (26 oz) jars or bottles and
lids, washed in very hot soapy water, then rinsed well and air dried

METHOD
1. Make the brine: Put the sea salt and water in a large pouring jug and stir until the salt has dissolved.
2. Chop the garlic and chilli: Peel the garlic, smash the cloves with the back of
 a knife, then roughly chop. Cut the stems off the chillies. The seeds of the chillies are where the heat lives, so remove the seeds if you’d like a milder sauce, or leave them in if you’re after some heat. Thinly slice the chillies.
3. Pack your jar: Add the garlic and chilli to your 2 litre (64 oz) jar, then pour in the brine, making sure the chillies are well covered, but leaving about the top one-quarter of the jar empty, as this mixture will expand as it ferments. There may be some brine left over.
4. Seal and leave: Put the lid on loosely. Accumulating gas will need to escape, so keep an eye on the jar and release the gas by opening the lid every few days. If you have a jar lid with an air lock, this would also work well.
5. Check in daily: If there is any white mould on top, just skim it off; it isn’t harmful. After a few days, the mixture will start bubbling. This is normal.
6. Purée and strain: After a week, drain the chillies keeping the brine. Then purée the chillies and garlic using the chilli brine to thin it as much as you like. Don't throw away the brine as it now a very chilli salty  mix and perfect for adding a quick hit of both chilli and salt to anything. Think sauces, mayonnaise, guacamole and so much more. 
7. Bottle and store: Pour the chilli sauce into two 750 ml (26 oz) bottles, then cover with a layer of olive oil to stop mould forming on top. Store your sauce in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 2 months.



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