So I might have been on a bit of a hot sauce making kick lately. If you know me, you know I’m one of those the “hotter the better” types of people so none of them have really been for the weak. In the last two weeks, I’ve done everything from a mock chipotle tabasco, habanero and carrot, and garlicky Trinidad Moruga Scorpion sauce to one I think is the most interesting: a spiced (and spicy) aji caballero and raisin hot sauce.
I dreamed up this sauce this morning while staring at a couple of boxes of raisins leftover from my little Oaxacan mole endeavor earlier this week sitting next to a little bundle of aji caballeros that my generous friend, Terry, gifted me with when he was teaching me how to make corn tortillas from dent corn. (Thanks, Terry!) Here in Puerto Rico, aji caballero chiles are used in a traditional, vinegary hot sauce simply referred to as pique. You can find bottles of pique at most produce stands, farmer’s markets and even on the grocery store shelves. This aji caballero sauce is nothing like that pique! This hot sauce is almost middle eastern in flavor with hints of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg; sweetened by raisins, molasses and honey. It’s rather aggressive in spiciness, and when it dribbled down my lip it left a lasting tingle for the better part of an hour.
No photos happened today since I don’t have my camera on me at the moment so you’ll just have to envision this, but I ended up whipping up some beef kofte kebab corn tortilla tacos drizzled with this sauce and simply dressed with shredded romaine, shaved red onion and chopped tomatoes. SO EFFING GOOD! Only thing I would have added was a dollop of labneh, if I could get my hands on it down here. If you are a hot sauce freak like me, and are in the mood for something not so traditional, give this one a try! It won’t let you down. If you think it sounds interesting but might be too hot for you, try cutting the quantity of chiles in half (or even by a quarter). Your sauce won’t be quite as thick as mine but it should still have a great flavor. (And while you’re at it, go ahead and make those kofte tacos I just described – delish!)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup fresh aji caballero peppers
2 oz raisins
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp honey
Add all ingredients to a sauce pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes then pour contents into a blender. Carefully blend hot contents until silky smooth. Run though a fine mesh sieve. Store in an air-tight container, refrigerated.