He was a Sriracha man for awhile, but it didn't pack the punch that he wanted. He tried various boutique brands with names including the adjectives "atomic" or "blow-your-brains-out." But, they have always fallen short.
This is what he says he looks for:
"In a hot sauce, I want a lot of heat and a bit of flavor. Just a couple drops should be enough to wake up the dish -- I shouldn't have to use it like a sauce just to get the heat, and I can't abide too much vinegar or sweetness".(Sorry, but, "I can't abide"?!)
Until Mama Vida came along.
The first week we were here, we had a life-changing chicken dinner at Mama Colonel's. These incredible vinegar half-chickens came with mayo and pili-pili sauce on the side, for dipping. Johan loved the chicken, but was possessed by the pili-pili.
Later, he picked up a bottle of Nando's brand, Peri-Peri Sauce, hoping to recreate the magic at home. He was incredibly disappointed. Seeing the bottle in the refrigerator, Mama Vida casually mentioned that she could make a hot sauce...if we wanted to try it.
She arrived the next day with this bag of beauties:
And Johan's life has never been the same.
He puts this stuff on everything. Mama Vida can barely churn it out fast enough. We've already devised a plan for next week's massive pili-pili making extravaganza...so he will make it through the summer vacation.
Like most perfect things, this sauce is incredibly simple. Here goes it:
Carefully stem and de-seed (how many seeds you leave in determines the sauce's final heat) a whole bunch of extremely hot peppers. Mama Vida doesn't wear gloves, but I might suggest that you do. The peppers that she uses to make pili-pili look an awful lot like Scotch Bonnets to me...so we're talking very hot.
Pop in a few cloves of garlic.
Add 1 onion, chopped.
At this point, you can do one of two things:
1.) Leave it be as a lovely puree. Add water if needed. Douse all your food in this loveliness.
2.) Cook the puree down, until the water is mostly gone. Then, add a small amount of oil to achieve desired consistency. This will make a longer-lasting, hotter, sauce.
Pack your sauce into a jar. An old olive jar works just fine:
And prepare to be enlightened - or at least invigorated - at every meal.