How to Make Your Own Hot Sauce

4 years ago

Growing up in a multicultural neighborhood was one of the best things that could've ever happened to me. The sound of Latin salsa music, aromas of fresh baked Arabic baklava, warm Armenian boreks and Italian cookies blended perfectly with my mom's own meatloaf and apple pie. On Jefferson Drive everybody brought their culture and cooking to the table, literally.  It was exciting, fun and completely natural.

Some memories are sweeter than others. 

It probably comes as no surprise then, this intense love I have for people and their music, their culture...and especially their food!  Oh yes, the food.

These days, family dinners at our house reflect the cuisine of a happily diverse life.  "Please pass the kimchi," and "These koulourakia are yummy!" can often be heard during the same meal.   Diversity, as it turns out, tastes great.  ¡Olé

Homemade Hot Sauce


20  serrano chiles
4  ancho chiles
2  large onions, sliced
4 teaspoons olive oil
4  small carrots, sliced
10  cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4  cups water
2  cups distilled white vinegar


1.  Rinse the chiles, slice in half lengthwise. Use your thumb to remove the veins and seeds, then roughly chop them.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the oil until transparent, add the carrots, cook for 3 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  

3.  Pour in the water and mix in the salt and chiles.  Cook on high until about 75 percent of the water evaporates, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

4.  Place mixture in food processor and puree for a few seconds until smooth.  Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any seeds and pieces.

5.  Pour cooled hot sauce into clean glass bottles, cap tightly and store in the refrigerator.

The heat from chiles is not to be taken lightly.  Wear a face mask and gloves, and carefully clean all utensils and work surfaces afterwards.  Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid/minimize respiratory irritation.

Jennifer Ranger

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