Making Hot Sauce Caveman Style

Making hot sauce can be a challenge if you have very little and no money to get what is needed. Imagine trying to start a hot sauce business but really having nothing to work with. How would you grind chilies and mix the sauce together? This really got me thinking.

The Man from Malawi

There is a lovely man from Malawi that works on the property that I stay on in South Africa. He caught a glimpse of my chili plants one day and excitedly asked if he could have some. I was so excited to have someone around that was as excited about chilies as me, so I have him a bag full and told him how I sell my hot sauce for a living. He was amazed. I started telling him how he could make his own hot sauce and sell it.

What Happened

He seemed keen but never really got around to doing it. This got me thinking further. I mean, he must have had no money for bottles, grinders or blenders etc. We often take what we have for granted.

I started my chili sauce company when I was totally broke, so I am familiar with having nothing to work with, but that’s a story for another day. So, I shifted my viewpoint and decided to put myself in his shoes and make some sauce from scratch just as he would do at home in rural Malawi.

Here’s How I Did It

I started by using what I had available. I had some red chilies, garlic, carrots and salt. I found a rock big enough to grind the chilies on and a smaller rock to do the actual grinding.

I took into account that there would probably be no stove in his house back in Malawi and so any cooking that needed to be done was done on a fire. There was no being choosy about the bottles used for the sauce so I used whatever was lying around, which is often how it is done in rural Africa. Before I knew it I was making hot sauce caveman style.

Fermented Hot Sauce

Because of the ingredients I had available, and the general situation in rural Africa fermented hot sauce was the only way to go. There is no need for refrigeration or fancy ingredients.

I gathered some stones from the garden and found a piece of cheese cloth. I wrapped the stones in the cheese cloth and made a weight to keep the ingredients submerged. The trick with fermentation is to keep the ingredients submerged otherwise they’ll go bad.

The Brine

Now it was time for the brine. I added my chopped carrots, chilies and whole cloves of garlic to an old peanut butter jar. I made a 5% brine and covered the ingredients with it.

The next challenge was waiting 3 weeks for the hot sauce to ferment.  I had to add some more brine at one point to keep the ingredients submerged. I used a piece of cheese cloth and an elastic band to keep bugs out of the ferment.

The real challenge was blending the final ferment into an actual saucy consistency.

I found a bowl and used the same stone to mash the ingredients up.

This whole exercise made me really appreciate the hot sauce equipment that I have got. I don’t have much but compared to the average rural set up in Africa I am a wealthy hot sauce company owner with a very advanced set up.

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Posted in Recipes, Travelling Hot Sauce Blog.