Alright friends, I did an informal poll and between my dry rub for pulled pork and my hot sauce recipe I only tested once, people came out in support of hot sauce.
This is a cooked habanero sauce with a bright, unique flavor profile, and one that could DEFINITELY STILL STAND SOME TWEAKS. Like I mentioned, I've only made this once, using approximate ratios. That said, here's the ingredients:
Habaneros, seeded: I'll be removing the seeds from all of the peppers I use in the recipe for texture purposes, but if you wanted a hotter sauce that took a little less knife work but was overall a little less complex, you could leave the seeds in. I'm not your mom.
Habanadas, if you have them: These are heatless habanero peppers that I added to get a little more pepper flavor and adjust the heat for a wider audience. If you don't have them, you'll still be fine, don't worry.
Red bell pepper: Again, this is just a method to jam more pepper flavor in there and adjust the heat at the same time. Optional ingredient, and even if you do use it, don't use much because seeded habaneros aren't actually that hot in the first place, and I do want this to be a hot sauce.
Chipotle peppers: I had some unidentified, mild dried hot peppers when I was making this sauce, and I tossed a few of them in, after doing my best to toast them in a pan and grind them up afterwards. Not necessary, but fun and will improve the end product.
Ancho chili powder: Love this shit, it's delicious. Frankly, this sauce was mostly about just how many flavors I could shove into one mixture, so I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to add this
Smoked Paprika: Also very good. You don't need too much, but it can help add some depth.
Ginger powder: As you may have learned from the last recipes, I like ginger. A lot. Just fucking put it in, dude. Don't think about it.
Chinese five-spice powder: Here it is, one of the weirdest ingredients in this sauce. It's also a really easy way to do something that people won't be expecting with your flavor profile, and I'm a sucker for originality. And, as it happened, it worked out. Five-spice is good.
Garlic cloves: Use a bunch, garlic will never betray you.
Onion: Dude, it's onion. It can't NOT add flavor. Onion will make it into basically every savory recipe I cook, ever.
Ginger root: Okay, I wasn't joking, I love ginger. It's got better (and different) flavor fresh, and I used both for the sauce.
Carrot: I was inspired by Torchbearer sauces, and their base of what I believe is carrot and mandarin orange. It's a nice flavor, and will add notable sweetness to the final product, especially because we'll be leaving the carrot raw and blending it in.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Be sparing, but remember that vinegars, when used properly, can give a lot of good stuff to a sauce.
Water, for cooking and blending: Again, you mostly want to use just enough liquid. This is going to be a thick sauce because of all the pepper mass in it, so if you add enough liquid that the sauce runs like a (delicious) cholula or a (disgusting) frank's red hot, the sauce will be FAR too watery/vinegary. Just use what you need, and no more.
Worcestershire: Don't use much, but do use some. I like this shit. It's got too much flavor going on to tell what's what, but it's got a great depth to it.
Ponzu: Okay, what can I say, I fucking love ponzu. This is the other weird ingredient in the sauce, and while you should be pretty sparing with it, I do think it's worth adding.
Okay, that's all that I can remember adding. We're basically done with the ingredients now. But unfortunately, I can't give any ratios, because they'd be totally fucking pulled from my ass. Instead, I can probably give a descending list of how much of a given thing I used. Maybe.
Habaneros-> Habanadas-> Onion-> Bell Pepper-> Garlic-> Carrot-> Ancho Powder-> Dried Chipotle-> Smoked Paprika-> Ginger Powder-> Five-Spice-> Fresh Ginger.
And for the liquids: Water-> Apple Cider Vinegar-> Ponzu-> Worcestershire.
Holy shit that's too many ingredients probably. Whatever. I made it and it tasted good. Anyway, chop your veg small, because you'll be blending this eventually, then cook all of it except the carrot in a pan for a little while in a neutral oil (not butter, that will lower the shelf life.) Once it's cooked down past the stage where you'd call it "sweating" the veg but before you caramelize anything, add some of your liquids to the pan, add all your spices, and simmer for a while. You don't want the veg to be swimming, but you want a decent amount of liquid medium to get shit going. You can taste and adjust spices and liquids during this process. You'll probably need to with that shit excuse for ratios I gave you.
Once you've simmered for a long enough time that you're pretty sure you're done, (what the fuck does that mean, I don't know. I was winging it, okay?) pull the pan from the heat, then in your blender, mix a little apple cider vinegar with a little water, and blend your carrot in that to get everything started. Once your carrot is blended, put everything else in there and blend all that different shit until it's all the same thing, and that thing is your finished sauce. Tentatively taste it, being absolutely sure that you've irrevocably fucked something up somewhere along the line and your sauce will be inedible, and be pleasantly surprised when it turns out to actually be good. My sauce was relatively sweet, a little less hot than I would have liked, very pepper-forward in its flavor, with notable notes of ginger and garlic, with just a hint of five-spice in the back that made you wonder what the fuck you just ate, but in a good way. You just made hot sauce just to see if you could, and it actually turned out well. Fuck yeah, you're cool for 30 minutes.
And when you remember that cool feeling, also remember to pick me up for your team, because I'm sick.
FINAL NOTE: Try to wear gloves when working with any peppers hotter than a jalapeno, because if you don't, and you touch your eyes, your junk, or any soft tissue on your body for up to a day afterward depending on how good your soap is and how hard you scrub, you will be treated to an inescapable burn that I have been told can compare to being in hell. Luckily, I haven't had to feel that feeling, because I went out and got some food-safe gloves just for this operation. Be safe, TFTV.