Today I’m going to tell you how much we love bacteria in our food. Say whaaat?! Yes, we just love bacteria. And food. In the same sentence. In the same bowl. Or bottle. Or mason jar. Ok ok, don’t hurry to skip this recipe just yet, I’m not talking about any bacteria out there, we still stay away of most. I’m taking about our best buddies, probiotics.
Probiotics are tiny (micro)organisms that when introduced into our bodies have beneficial effects. When I phrase it like that, we all want some right? Handfuls of it at a time if possible. Well, probiotics are nothing but friendly bacteria that make foods more amazing. See, nothing to be scared of.
There’s tonnes of information out there on the many benefits of fermented foods. I beg you to have a read and fall in love with them. I personally find I have an improved digestion whenever I add fermented foods to my meals and my bowels are doing a much better job (too much info?! oh well). That’s because they boost the numbers of good bacteria in our guts.
Before hurrying to grab a probiotics supplement, maybe you’d like to know just how incredibly easy it is to make your own awesome, probiotic foods at home. Foods naturally ferment and under the right conditions, with a wee bit of help from us humans, they can ferment into some delicious (addictive) creations, naturally rich in good bacteria. Think kimchi. Think sauerkraut. Think miso! Plus, they will be free of all the nasties that store bought products generally come with by default (food dyes, preservatives, flavour boosts, stabilisers and what not).
Can easily be transformed into this.
And then into pure liquid gold. Hot, hot gold.
One thing to be mindful of is that our best buddies here don’t like heat. Heat actually kills them so they are best consumed raw. If it’s winter and you need to slightly warm up something you’ve just taken out of the fridge, better to just leave it on the countertop for 15-20 minutes before consuming. Don’t microwave it.
I feel I should say something about this chili sauce as well. A chili sauce that my better half made for us. You see, his love for chilies is second to none. He must be growing over 20 plants at a time. Craaaazy. And so is this sauce, crazy good. It’s really hot, really awesome and tops any tabasco out there! It also ‘just happens’ to explode with flavour and good bacteria! It is bound to become a staple in the pantry of any true chili lover.
All you need to make it is your favourite chilies – you know best what you can handle and what not, so make it to be able to eat it. You also need some salt and some time to let it ‘brew’ in its own juices. A little bit of extras like some garlic will add a wonderful depth of flavour.
- 400 gr chilies, stems removed (we used all yellow cayenne plus 3-4 birds eye)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 8 gr sea salt (needs to be roughly 2% of the chilies after removing the stems)
- water to cover
- raw apple cider vinegar
- First cut off the stems of the chilies.
- Next, this is optional, you can remove the seeds of the chilies as well. We didn’t.
- It is at this stage that you need to weight the chilies and calculate 2% of that, to know how much sea salt to add.
- Roughly chop chilies and add them to a clean jar (this is the jar in which they will ferment so make sure it fits them all and also water to cover).
- Add sea salt and water just enough to cover, plus and extra half cm.
- Give it a good stir using a spoon, cover the jar with some cheesecloth (or a paper towel) and secure it with an elastic band.
- Place the jar in a cool dark place in the pantry, away from direct sunlight.
- Every other day or so check your chilies to see if any white mold forms on top. If it does, simply remove it with a clean spoon and give your chili mix another stir. Cover and place it back in the pantry.
- To see if fermentation is taking place, check for tiny bubbles forming either on top or through the chili mix.
- Fermentation is done when these precious tiny bubbles stop. Anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks, depending on temperature. It took us 4 weeks.
- After fermenting the chilies, add the entire mixture to a blender and whiz it up for few seconds until completely pureed and as fine as possible.
- Strain this mix through a fine sieve and press it with a spoon to get as much juice out as possible.
- Measure the liquid you got after straining (we had 220 gr of pure hot liquid gold) and add half that amount of apple cider vinegar (we added 110 gr). Stir, taste and be dazzled at your creation.
- Place your freshly made awesome fermented chili sauce in a jar or bottle or whatever you fancy, cover and refrigerate. It will be ready to consume the next day, after the flavours have had a bit of time to marry.
- Keep refrigerated until finished.
- Mix the leftover chili pulp (what is left after straining the juice) with a bit of olive oil and place it in a small jar, cover and refrigerate that too. Lots of people discard this, but it can be used in soups, stews and other amazing hot meals. It is actually an awesome by-product.