Homemade Bajan Style Pepper Sauce

I clearly remember the trip I took to Barbados about 10 years ago, and everyday woke to the sounds of the ocean, groggy with sleep from partying the night before and in desperate need of coffee and food. We stayed in a time share apartment right on the beach and although we had a kitchen I don’t think we ever turned the stove on! It was so much easier just going around the corner to this tiny convenient store that sold everything from toothpaste, beer, and band-aids to spicy egg sandwiches. I had an egg and cheese sandwich almost every morning, smothered of course in a homemade Bajan pepper sauce! Simple but so good I just had to have it. That was the first time I tried traditional hot sauce from Barbados. The island is gorgeous and the food and spices are pretty amazing, you should definitely visit!

bajan-hotsauce

Bajan pepper sauce is mustard based and pours thick and chunky with bits of carrots, red peppers, onions and lots of fiery scotch bonnet peppers! I remember buying a couple of bottles before I left for home. I needed that sauce, needed it like some addict. It’s amazing on eggs, and great on fish, chicken and all sorts of sandwiches. You can find Bajan hot pepper sauce pretty much in any neighborhood supermarket where there’s a large Caribbean population or you can get in online. I usually buy the Delish brand but nothing like having an authentic homemade Bajan hot sauce so I just had to try and make my own.

hotsauce-ingredients

I searched online for recipes to see which “tasted” best. You ever do that? Read a recipe or restaurant menu item and know exactly how it’s going to taste? I used this recipe as a base and added a few extra ingredients to round out the flavors. As you can see above, I swapped the scotch bonnet peppers for the super hot fatalii chile peppers.

chopped-chiles

I find the fatalii peppers to be very similar in flavor to the scotch bonnets, just more intense and hotter. Besides, I had about 1/2 lb of the fatalii peppers and needed to use them up!

hot-sauce

A few tips when making any type of hot sauce:

  • Open windows & turn ventilation on because the fumes from the peppers will burn your eyes and throat, and you don’t want that!
  • Use gloves when handling hot peppers, especially large quantities, the oils will stick to your fingers and burn the heck out of you
  • Wear a mask if you’re working with super hots, grab a bandana and wrap around your face, pretend you’re some warrior
  • Wash your chile peppers thoroughly to reduce chances of bacteria, you don’t want the cooties
  • Finally, taste your sauce before you bottle, tweak the recipe if needed and reheat, you don’t want to wind up with a sauce you won’t use! 🙂

 

Homemade Bajan Style Pepper Hot Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 12 Fatalii peppers, chopped
  • ¾ cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Before you start making the sauce, make sure you have sterile glass bottles or jars ready to use. This recipes makes about 32 oz of sauce.
  2. In a food processor or blender add the chopped peppers, carrots, onion and the rest of the ingredients blend until chunky. You can add water a little at time to help blend ingredients more easily.
  3. Transfer the sauce mixture into a sauce pan and on medium heat bring the mixture to a boil and cook for at least 20 minutes. Do not cook less than this, its very important to maintain freshness and to ensure no bacteria forms.
  4. If sauce thickens up too much add more water to achieve desired consistency.
  5. Remove sauce from heat and immediately add the hot sauce into the sterile bottles or jars using a funnel. Be sure to leave about ½ in head space to rim of bottle/jar and secure cap.
  6. Process the hot sauce bottles using the hot bath method used for canning foods. This will help preserve the hot sauce for up to six months. Having a large pot with a canning rack will be very helpful, if not improvise to ensure jars are upright and submerged in water.
  7. Boil for at least 10 minutes then carefully remove each jar with tongs and place on top of a kitchen towel on the counter top and let cool completely.
  8. If you used canning jars you will hear a "popping" sound which is the jar sealing and ensuring preservation.

A Hot Sauce Festival for City Folk

I attended the first annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo last weekend held in Brooklyn’s East River State Park. The event was a huge success giving hot sauce companies, small and large the opportunity to share their creations with us city folk! It was the perfect event for tasting and purchasing difficult to find hot sauces. I’m usually skeptical of buying sauces online if I haven’t had the opportunity to try them or come recommended from a trusted source so this was a nice treat.

signage

The general tasting was held outdoors but a little extra loot got you access to the indoor VIP events, great food, vendor awards and plenty of libations.

hot-liquor

This Cayrum rum hails from the Dominican Republic and made with honey and ginger for a nice spiced up flavor. I can definitely see this in my tea next time I’m sick, in mixed cocktails or just over ice! A great spicy premium tequila to try is Tanteo made with real jalapenos for very natural tasting, spicy spirit. Most others spicy liquor distillers choose artificial flavoring but this one delivers on both the taste and heat. I also caught a Michelada competition…you see where my priorities are!

michelada-contest

Unlimited drinks, live music, unlimited food and all the hot sauce you wanted could be had in VIP area. The general admission got you access to to the hot sauces in the outdoor booths with a great view of the city. Not bad for only $10!

nyc-skyline

A couple of good sauces here…Dirty Dick’s, Guyank, Heart Breaking Dawn’s 1498…

hot-sauces

That Rogue High River Sauce made with scorpion moruga chile, one of the hottest in the world, hotter than the ghost pepper, was killer! I had to try it and amazingly you could taste the sweetness up front for about the first 10 seconds and then BAM! A one-two punch to the face! It’s probably best to leave those super hot sauces for last to save some of your taste buds. So best advice I can give is to pace yourself and walk around with a cold dairy product like ice cream or cheese to neutralize the heat, it really does help!

defcon-horseradish

Ooh Defcon sauces, that Habby Horse hot habanero is AMAZING! Will be grilling with that one and also adding it to some deviled eggs. If you want a great flavored, well balanced, spicy, sweet, tangy HOT sauce, pick up one of my favorites, Cajohn’s bourbon infused chipotle habanero hot sauce.

hl-cj-sauces

Here are a few more great sauces…High River Sauces Tear’s of the Sun, Delcastro NYC hot sauce, and Surge of Sandy, which was a collaboration with Cajohn’s to help benefit Born to Hula hot sauce company after hurricane Sandy’s devastating blow to their NJ location. Be sure to pick some up if you want to help them rebuild, hot sauces also make great gifts too so get a few.

hl-tears-sun

nyc-hotsauce

sandy-hotsauce

Needed to fuel up with an awesome beer bratwurst with a little Bajan mustard hot sauce.
beer-brat

There were sweets to be had as well. I had to pick up the Madison Chocolatiers West spicy chocolate caramel sauce which would be great drizzled over ice cream, stirred into a smoothie or for dipping strawberries. Peppers.com, the huge hot sauce distributor/sellers also showcased their spicy salt water taffy, a collaboration with Delaware’s Dolle’s taffy company. Look for the spicy peanut butter taffy for an awesome treat! There weren’t too many others but hopefully next year you’ll see hot lollies there! 🙂

spicy-sweets

The day was gorgeous, a little windy and chilly for this time of year but plenty of warming elements here. I could have easily overdone it with all the sampling, surely a few more would have put me over the edge but one thing I could appreciate, as did many others, was the strategically placed ice cream vendors!

ice-cream-sandwiches

This will be an annual event in NYC and definitely looking forward to next year!

Mexico on my mind: Bright Inspirations

I’ve been meaning to make it down to Mexico for a while now and been wanting to visit Oaxaca, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Frida Kahlo’s old stomping grounds. I day dream of the sights, the sounds, the food, the blazing sun on my back, the drinks…a girl can daydream no? I could just book a trip and be really irresponsible but I have so much work to do here before I can really getaway. So right now I’ll just settle for my little web-escapes….Pinterest, Trip Advisor, Food Gawker! ha!

So here are my fresh finds…things that remind me of my previous trips to Mexico and things that just make me want to go back…

I want to sip my morning cup of Joe here, with a little milk, cinnamon and nutmeg please! Love the bright colors and gorgeous view…ok, go book your trip! This one here is the Villa Mandarinas in Puerto Vallarta, photo from Around the World Villas

These gorgeous flags always transport me to Mexico and this lovely Etsy shop, Ay Mujer, has really taken it to the next level! They personalize them!

Are these awesome cookie designs or what? Love the details and colors inspired by Dia de Los Muertos! You can get these and many other Mexican inspired cookies at Sweet Sugarbelle

The colors and patterns remind me of Mexican textiles…just follow link for instructions on how to make your own friendship bracelet from Honestly WTF.

I gotta have this Opal Clutch from Mar y Sol! Love the thin gold thread and the wooden closure…the stripes remind me of a burst of sunshine…perfect for a vacation.

Last but not least, we have to have a little spice and thought I’d share this great recipe for hot sauce. This one is made with habanero peppers so it’s quite hot. Seed your peppers and remove the membranes if you want more flavor than heat. This one is from Lottie and Doof.

Hope you were able to escape with me, if only for a little while. This just makes me want to pack a bag but instead I’ll do the next best thing and make you something spicy and inspired by Mexico! As I mentioned in my last post, this month is all about Mexico!