Fermented Sriracha Chile Sauce
Cayenne is a red or green hot chili pepper used to flavor chile food dishes and is also used for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others.
3/4 lbs Fresno, Cayenne, or Jalapeno chiles, snipped, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 oz (2 Tbsp) Thai or Vietnamese palm sugar, or 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
Water, as needed
Combine the chiles, garlic, salt, and sugar in a food processor and chop finely to a texture like that of wet oatmeal. Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl or jar and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, until small bubbles have formed under the surface of the mixture. If a little fuzzy mold forms, lift it off with a fork or knife and discard.
After 3 days (72 hours), check for bubbles as sign of fermentation!
Put the fermented mixture and vinegar into small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a blender and puree for about 3 minute, until a smooth, orange-red mixture forms. Add the water to facilitate the pureeing, if needed.
Position a fine mesh strainer over a clean bowl. Then pass the chile sauce through, pressing on the solids with a spatula or spoon to extract as much chile sauce as possible. The mixture is often slightly too thick for me so I’ll stir 1 tablespoon of water into the finished chile sauce. Let the flavor develop and bloom for a few hours before using. Taste it and make any flavor adjustment with salt, sugar or vinegar. Store in a jar and keep refrigerated for 1 month. Bring it to room temperature before using.
Makes 1 1/4 cups.