Sunday 5 July 2020

Hot Chili Oil

One of my top favourite condiments has got to be hot chili oil. You may see this stuff at Chinese and other Asian restaurants. Whenever I do I tend to lather whatever I'm eating with it. It goes great with noodles, soups, rice, eggs, stir-fries, you name it! Of course it's spicy but it also has a deep orchestra of flavours and crispy/crunchy textures. I can't get enough of it. It's also very easy to make yourself. 

Although other countries have their own versions, I mainly think of this as a Chinese recipe. In other words, this recipe I'm about to share is inspired by Chinese hot chili oil. China is divided into 23 provinces and each one has their own style of cuisine. I'm not familiar with which region my version may resemble the closest. I just went with all of my favourite elements and put them together. You can make chili oil with just crushed chilies and oil. It will still be great. But by adding your own flavours and textures you can elevate it to something very special. When I'm in an Asian market and I look for this stuff, I prefer the brands that have peanuts in them. That's just because I love peanuts and I think they add a nice texture to the oil. If you're allergic or prefer not to include them, that's totally up to you. Crushed chilies and oil are the two necessary ingredients, the rest is optional and up to your discretion and creativity. 

Let's talk chilies for a second. The whole point of this recipe is to be hot. This is used as a condiment to add mostly spicy flavour to a dish. I recommend that you use crushed chilies with a lot of seeds since that's where you'll get most of your heat from. I recommend buying an Asian brand of crushed chilies because I find they have more seeds than the crushed chilies you may get from a Western source. Plus, if anything, I'm sure it adds some authenticity to the recipe. In a pinch you could use whatever crushed chili product you can find but if you can help it, go to your Asian market for this ingredient. This is the brand that I used:

Great amount of seeds!

This recipe also calls for black cardamom, which adds a beautiful, complex, smoky flavour. This may be the hardest ingredient to find, depending where you live. You can otherwise certainly find it online. To borrow a photo from my Ethiopian spiced butter recipe, you can clearly see the difference between black cardamom and the more usual green cardamom (left). The flavours are not at all the same and therefore cannot be used as a substitute. I definitely recommend it but can easily be omitted.  

Green cardamom vs. Black cardamom

Also very important, you'll need a big glass, ceramic or any kind of material bowl that will not melt (i.e. plastic) for this recipe. We'll be pouring hot oil over the chilies so the bowl will need to withstand that heat. Your bowl also needs to be much bigger than you think at first because the oil will bubble and displace when it's added to the chilies (in safe doses, not all at once) so it will need plenty of room to do that. 

The rest of this process is straightforward so let's get started!


1½ cups neutral-flavoured oil, suitable for frying (canola, vegetable, peanut, etc...)
¾ cup crushed chilies
¼ cup peanuts
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
⅓ cup Szechuan peppercorns
3 bay leaves
4 star anise
2 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed (optional)
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 tbsp sesame seeds
½ tsp Chinese black vinegar (optional)
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
Salt to taste 

Over medium heat, warm the oil in a saucepan with the Szechuan peppercorns, sliced ginger, bay leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick and black cardamom. Let it boil gently for about 5 minutes or until fragrant and the peppercorns have turned a deep brown colour (not black). Be careful not to burn any of the ingredients. 

Meanwhile add the crushed chilies, finely chopped garlic, peanuts and a pinch of salt to a large, heat-proof, non-plastic bowl. Give 'em a mix.

When the oil is ready, carefully remove the solid ingredients, which will have scented it with their aromas and flavours. Return the oil to the stove. If it isn't already, get the oil to 225-250 F/107-121 C before the next step. In other words, if room temperature oil was a 1 and boiling hot oil was a 10, you want it at about a 7. You can check this by placing the tip of a wooden chopstick (for example) in the oil. If small bubbles start to form around it after a second or two, it's ready.

Carefully pour the oil into the crushed chili mixture in several doses (not all at once). At the same time, mix the ingredients to prevent burning (I find a pair of chopsticks works great for this). As I mentioned before, the oil will bubble up, displace and rise in the bowl so it's extremely important that you use a big bowl, pour in doses and use common sense and regard for safety. 

When all of your oil has been added, continue to stir for a few seconds and watch as the bubbles begin to calm down. Your kitchen at this point will be filled with the most sensational aromas!

While the oil is still warm, add the sesame seeds. This will cook them just slightly but just enough (they'll burn if added sooner). They will add yet another texture and pop of flavour that work really well in this. After the oil cools down to room temperature or nearly there, add the black vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Give it a stir, taste and adjust the salt (if needed) and you're done!

Transfer to a new container with a tight-fitting lid and store at room temperature. Technically you can start enjoying your hot chili oil right away but the flavours will continue to deepen and develop with time. Try to leave it for at least a day before you start using it. 

That's it! Now you have your very own, personalized hot chili oil. If you've never tried it, you'll get an idea of how to use it once you do. Meanwhile, here are some fantastic options:


Mixed into rice

With dumplings, wontons and dim sum


Vanilla ice cream? Peculiar but better than you might think.

How you use your chili oil is entirely up to you. Be creative! You just might find it goes well with everything.



Monday 27 April 2020

Jalapeño-Cheddar Corn Muffins (with honey butter)

I wasn't planning on posting this recipe but I whipped these up a few days ago and posted it on my Instagram and my personal Facebook page. They just blew up! Three of my friends scattered across the country have already recreated their own versions of this recipe and a producer from CBS News asked my permission to use the photo for a segment they ran on a morning program about what people are baking under quarantine. I shared them with my roommate and my neighbours and they were a huge hit. I have to say, they're probably the best muffins I've ever made, so after some thought I decided this recipe deserved a feature on the blog.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I hope everyone is currently staying safe and keeping well during this COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing global quarantine which we're well over a month into already now. A lot of people are stuck at home, cooking more of their own meals and it's made me realize how important little blogs like this are to help inspire people during times of uncertainty and inconvenience. 

I feel like a bit of a fraud. This isn't really my own recipe. It's a recipe that I used from bon appétit and changed only slightly. The original recipe calls for the addition of fresh corn which I swapped out for jalapeño peppers and grated aged cheddar. Adapting recipes to suit your taste is one of the best parts of homecooking to me. Most of my recipes are ones that can easily be adapted and altered as you wish. One friend of mine omitted the jalapeño and used yogurt instead of sour cream for just one example. I won't bother including this in the recipe because it's very optional but I also added a bit of hot sauce to my wet ingredients. I seeded the jalapeño that I diced and added to the batter for presentation but in doing so I removed most of the heat, which I quite like. Hence the reintroduction of it by way of hot sauce. If you're a fan of spice, like me, you may want to consider that option. I also sliced a whole jalapeño into rings and topped each muffin with one for a personalized touch.


Not-stick vegetable oil spray 
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼  cups cornmeal
¼ cup + 2 tbsp white sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
2¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp pepper (or to taste, I never measured that part)
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
3 jalapeño peppers (2 seeded and diced, 1 sliced into 12 rings)
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
¾ cup sour cream
⅔ cup milk
½ cup (1 stick) of melted unsalted butter, cooled

Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit/205 Celsius and generously coat a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray. If you don't have the spray you can use a bit of vegetable oil and and a paper towel to rub it in. 

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Lightly whisk eggs and egg yolk in a medium bowl, then whisk in sour cream, milk, and melted butter. The butter should be liquid but cooled enough that it doesn't scramble the eggs.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour egg the mixture into the well and add the diced jalapeño and grated cheddar. Use a combination of folding and gentle stirring until the batter is just combined. This is the most important rule to making any muffin. Don't overmix your batter or they won't be lusciously moist. I recommend even leaving it a little lumpy, it will all work out when it bakes.

Divide the batter into the muffin pan to make 12 muffins. Depending on the size of your muffin pan, you may have a little extra batter. Don't fill the cups of the muffin pan much higher than the rim. They will rise on their own and form perfect individual domes that way. 

Gently press a jalapeño ring on top of each muffin. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes, turning halfway until risen and golden brown. 

Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring the individual muffins to a cooling rack to cool for a few more minutes. Definitely enjoy them when they're warm though. In the original bon appétit recipe they made a honey butter to accompany them. You don't need a recipe it's just a matter of mixing honey with room temperature unsalted butter until you're happy with the level of sweetness and season with a pinch of salt. I really recommend it. The honey butter was literally half of the experience. They worked exceptionally well in this case because the sweetness of the honey balanced with the heat of the jalapeño for a symphony-in-your-mouth effect.

And that's it! Everyone has loved these. I will definitely use this cornbread recipe in the future too, except maybe minus the sugar. That's just a personal thing with me. I prefer my cornbread without sugar but I'll add sugar to corn muffins. I mean, they're muffins. lol

I hope these are just as much of a hit for you as they were for me! 

Stay safe, healthy and well.


Tuesday 24 March 2020

Fermented Hot Sauce

I love hot sauce! As someone who eats spicy food every day, hot sauce can really make a dish. For spice lovers, the key to happiness is having a variety of different hot sauces. At least I think so. I've never felt there was a king hot sauce to rule them all. Certain sauces are good for certain things. Having a selection of different sauces is the ticket. Experimenting with variations of fermented hot sauce is the best way to perfect your own. You can be so creative! 

This post is related to a recent post that delves deep into lacto-fermenting vegetables and fruit. I recommend referring to it if you care to learn more about this fascinating process. In this example I'm going to make a fermented hot sauce using a variety of different chili peppers and garlic. There's two whole heads of garlic in this one batch! The cloves from one head are fermented with the chilies and the cloves from another are sliced, toasted in oil and blended into the sauce with some of the oil for flavour and texture. This will help you to get an idea of how the process works. I've been busy experimenting with different flavour profiles so I'll share those in this post as well. I hope that this inspires you to try this on your own. It's fun, easy and delicious. All you need is patience and an appreciation for flavour. 

For your very first hot sauce, I recommend doing something simple. Once you familiarize yourself with a couple of batches you'll get a better sense of what works and how you can play around with the ingredients. The demo in this post is a perfect way to start. Chili and garlic is a classic combination and tends to make a "good on everything" sauce. You can use any chili peppers you want! Use your favourites. Remember that most of the heat (capsaicin) in a pepper is found in the seeds and the membrane inside. For a pepper like a habanero or a scotch bonnet, the heat is very intense. You can remove the seeds and membranes and still end up with a very spicy hot sauce. It really depends on your tolerance and preference. If you're not sure what you can handle, I implore you to start with a milder batch and use that to gauge how you can improve. I happen to be a fiend for spice and my tolerance and appreciation for it is definitely on the extraordinary end of the spectrum. I happen to keep all the seeds and membrane in my batches. It's your call to make (you're the boss of your sauce). Whatever you do, PLEASE wear protective gloves. When working with this many chili peppers at once, it's not worth the risk. That spicy irritant will spread from your fingers to anywhere you touch including your face, eyes, and you don't even want to think about using the bathroom like that. Trust me on the gloves. 

For this sauce I used a combination of different chili peppers varying from very mild to very hot. Among them are scotch bonnets, jalapeño, hot banana pepper, shishito and 2 other varieties that weren't labeled at the market so I'm not 100% sure. Use whatever you like! How much do you need? Enough to fill the jar fairly tightly. So that depends entirely on the contents you choose

For my hot sauce experiments I've been using a ¼ gallon jar (32 oz/4 cups). It doesn't need to be sterilized, but make sure it's nice and clean. Then pack your jar with your peppers and crushed garlic cloves. Roughly chop your peppers to expose their flavours (and make them easier to pack). You don't need to cut them into small pieces. It's all going into a blender at the end. 

Next step is to make a brine using 1 tbsp of salt to 2 cups of water. Your salt cannot contain iodine (so no table salt) or this won't work. Kosher or sea salt works great. Personally I prefer to use fine sea salt because it dissolves the fastest. The water you use has to be clean enough to drink safely. So for me, that's tap water. Depending where you live you may want to use bottled water. Let's review:

 1 tbsp salt : 2 cups of water

This ratio is important because you need just enough salt to kill any "bad" bacteria present in whatever you ferment but not enough salt to kill the "good" bacteria that makes this whole process possible. 

Then top off your jar with the salt-water brine. The idea here is you want to submerge everything in the jar under the brine. But be prepared, it will want to float:

You'll need to add a weight to keep the top of the contents under the brine. If they are left exposed to air then it can spoil and ruin your entire batch. Don't use anything metal as a weight. During the fermentation process the brine will become increasingly acidic and it would take on a metallic flavour in your hot sauce. Avoid using wood either as it's porous and can also spoil. Glass, ceramic or pyrex will work best. I like to use a little ramekin that I fill with brine at the top and that works very well. 

I haven't tried it personally but I've read that you can fill a sealable, plastic bag with water and use that in a pinch. If you're really picky, you can even buy fermentation weights online.

Screw the lid on but not airtight. Leave it a little loose but so that no dust or anything can get in. 

Voilà! You have your very own batch of hot sauce fermenting!

Day 1

Keep your jar somewhere out of direct light and at room temperature. Place it on a disposable towel or in a bowl and replace as necessary. As it ferments, tiny bubbles of Co2 gas will develop in the jar. Enough gas in the jar will create pressure. This is why we leave the lid just a little loose. If needed, the gas can push excess brine up through the lid and it will run down the sides and makes a mess (unless you're prepared with a disposable towel or a bowl).

Even with that precaution, you'll still need to unscrew the lid completely to expel all built up gas once or twice a day (although probably not necessary on the very first day). This process is called "burping" and it's important because if you don't, enough gas could build up to break the jar, cause a big mess and ruin your project. So don't skip this step.

Day 3

At first it will smell fresh and kinda salad-y. After the first couple of days, anything naturally green will dull into a greyer shade. The brine will start to get cloudy (that's totally normal and harmless). The flavour will start to get more sour and this will reflect in the aroma.

Day 6

You may even see some harmless yeast growth in the brine. So long as your contents are kept submerged under the brine and nothing is poking out, exposed to air, you shouldn't have any mold concerns. Mold tends to be fuzzy, a distinct colour and raised. If you see a whitish film develop on top or inside the brine, that's kahm yeast and it's totally harmless. Sometimes, but not always, garlic will start to turn kind of teal or blue. That happened in this example so you can see. It may seem alarming at first, but once again, that's harmless and natural. I'm not sure how to explain it and haven't had the easiest time looking it up myself. But don't worry if that happens to your batch too. It's all good! 

Day 10

After about Day 10 the Co2 production may start to slow down and you may not have to "burp" the jar as much. This is a good sign that your ferment is almost ready. At that phase the aroma will start to give you an idea of what flavour your sauce will have. There will be so much more flavour than you started out with!

Day 14

I recommend you let your hot sauce ferment for 2-3 weeks. It will take patience but it will be worth it. It will really develop the flavours and they will get sour, mingle together, mellow into one and develop little complexities. When fermenting little pickley things I only go for a few days to a week. Also, vegetables and fruit tend to soften as they ferment in brine. I prefer pickley things to have some crunch but if you're going to blend up everything into a smooth sauce that's no problem. 

After 2-3 weeks and you're satisfied with your ferment, it's time to make your sauce!

When you blend the ingredients, you'll need to trickle in some oil. We'll be passing our puréed sauce through a fine sieve. The oil will give the sauce a bit of body and a more luxurious texture. This is the perfect opportunity to add more flavour! 

Slice up at least 8 cloves of garlic (I usually use a whole head, like I did here). Then add them to a small saucepan with ½ a cup of a neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point (like canola or vegetable) over medium-low heat. Gently toast the garlic until lightly golden. Frying the garlic will flavour the oil while getting more delicious and crispy.

If you didn't know this already, garlic burns very easily. So keep a close eye on it. If it burns the flavour will be ruined and you'll have to start over again. The garlic will continue to cook for a little while even after you take them out of the oil so I remove them just before they get to the golden colour I'm after.


Remove the garlic from the oil and reserve. Allow the oil to cool down for a few minutes. 

In the meantime, empty the contents of your jar into a sieve over a bowl to catch the brine. Reserve the brine. Be careful, it will be full of capsaicin and very spicy. If you get it on your bare fingers it could burn and spread. 

In a blender, add the fermented chilies and garlic, the toasted garlic, 1 cup of the brine and ½ cup of white vinegar. Pulse in short bursts before blending continuously into a smooth purée. Adjust the levels of brine and vinegar to taste.  

Gently and steadily pour in 3-4 tbsp of the garlic oil (up to a ¼ cup). Personally I like to shoot for just under ¼ cup otherwise it gets a little too thick for the bottles I like to use (with stoppers). 

I always add a big pinch of salt at this stage and then give it a taste. Adjust to your liking. I didn't in this case, but I've added sugar to some of my hot sauce experiments and depending what you're making, this would be the stage to do that as well. That's to taste but 2-3 tbsp is a good gauge. 

When you're happy (and hopefully excited) with the flavour of your hot sauce, pass it once or twice through a sieve and discard the solid pulp.

Clean the bottles/jars of your choosing and fill them with your fresh, homemade fermented hot sauce. I really recommend a funnel for this step. 

I ordered my bottles online and the style came with these little plastic stoppers. These are great because they control the amount of sauce that comes out. This way you can liberally shake and get the exact amount you want. I find that if I use a full ¼ cup of oil in the blending phase it starts to become a hassle to get out of the bottle. If you're not using bottles with stoppers, you may want to disregard that advice. 

I really like the addition of oil because it really perfects the texture of the sauce. So far I've only ever toasted garlic in the oil before I add it, but there's so much more you can try including ginger, spices, onion and other flavourings! You can be so creative and experimental. That's my favourite part about hot sauce making.

Store your hot sauce in the fridge and consume within a few months. The flavour may continue to develop a little but there's enough lactic acid, salt, capsaicin and vinegar to preserve your sauce for a while. Your sauce will continue to ferment in the fridge but at a much, much slower rate. There will also be natural separation so give it a good shake before each use. 

That's all you need to do! It's that easy. Honestly the hardest part is the waiting. It takes some patience but it's a lot of fun and these make fantastic gifts for your family and friends. Homemade hot sauce that you fermented yourself? Come on! I would love that as a gift. lol

Now that you're familiar with how this works, here are some other fermented hot sauces that I've made to help give you inspiration. This has been a new learning experience for me so I'll also share some things I've learned in the process.

Habanero-Garlic Sauce

This was the very first hot sauce I made. For my first experiment I kept it really simple. I only fermented habanero peppers, nothing else. I kept all the seeds in so it was searingly hot (which I love) but admittedly it masked the flavour of the toasted garlic and the oil. For my first sauce, the texture was perfect! It was sensationally tasty as well. I was so happy with how it turned out and this was the one that started it all! lol

1) Jalapeño, Garlic, Sweet Onion, Scallion & a lil' Scotch Bonnet with fresh cilantro and lime juice at the end

2) Hot Banana Pepper, Pineapple, Ginger & a lil' Habanero

My second and third batches I made during the same time. I generally referred to them as my green and yellow sauces. In both of these batches I omitted the oil as an experiment. I prefer it with the oil. Without it, the texture was basically that of Tabasco sauce. Not bad, but I prefer it a little more clingy and a little less runny. Live and learn!

The flavour of the green sauce turned out really nice. I added a couple of scotch bonnets for extra kick because I love spicy heat, although this was one of my milder batches. It's also my only batch where I blended something fresh into it afterward (cilantro and lime juice). It was good but ultimately redundant because it's nice for a couple of hours and then afterward you couldn't really taste them at all. The lime and cilantro quickly became preserved as well and lost that "freshness" that I was aiming for. Otherwise very tasty and perfect for Mexican and Texan dishes. 

The yellow sauce was divine and the one I most want to make again. It was my first hot sauce with a sweet fruit as one of the main ingredients. It was interesting because the bacteria consumes most if not all of the natural sugar and converts it into lactic acid. So the natural sweetness is completely gone. It had more of a sour pineapple flavour but still unmistakably pineapple. In my mind it still registered as a little sweet because of it. The sharp pepperiness of the hot banana pepper went really well with it. I added a couple of habaneros for extra kick but I didn't blend them into the sauce because they were fire-engine-red and I wanted a pure yellow sauce. I even added some turmeric to the final product. The ginger was really nice too especially with the pineapple. Pineapple and ginger both ferment really well. I recommend using them either or both together. 

This is the only batch of hot sauce that I've come up with that didn't include garlic. The next time I make it, I'm going to add oil for texture but I don't think I'll toast garlic in it. Maybe some ginger and a few peppercorns instead. I'm still figuring that part out. I just loved how pineapple and ginger were the star flavours while still remaining quite spicy. So flavourful!

Caribbean-inspired Hot Sauce

This one was special to me because I used scotch bonnet as a main flavour contender and it's my favourite chili pepper of them all. It's very popular in Caribbean dishes so it inspired me to make a Caribbean-inspired flavour profile. This is where I started to get really creative and complex. The ingredient list includes scotch bonnet peppers, mango, ginger, garlic, scallions, lime zest, fresh thyme, peppercorns and allspice berries. This is also the first batch where I used sugar and it worked really well to bring out the mango flavour out of all that fire. Scotch bonnet peppers are incredibly hot so all of the other flavours are more supporting notes. I recommend fermenting strips of lime zest (with as little pith as possible) for flavour rather than trying to squeeze in fresh juice at the end. Yes, you can also add whole spices to your hot sauce ferment! It's another great way to add flavour. I always picked them out before blending though. Just as a personal precaution. Although running it through a sieve at the end may take care of it anyway. Better safe than sorry! This is my spiciest sauce to date but it had so much flavour too. 

Thai-inspired Hot Sauce

This one was a lot of fun and the product of a grocery run at a massive Asian market in town before it closed. I fermented a mix of red and green Thai (or Bird's Eye) chilies, shallots, coconut, galangal, ginger, garlic, Thai basil, lemongrass and star anise. I added sugar to this batch as well which worked perfectly. This may have been my most flavourful sauce. It was almost as if each ingredient was in a line up for you to taste as each one blossomed one after the other on the tongue. The only issue with this batch is a problem I've had with two batches so far and this was the first. Because this batch contained a lot of hearty, robust dense ingredients like coconut, ginger, galangal, lemongrass in particular. When there is too much of this texture, it can lead to an undesirable thickness. Perhaps another round of sieving the final product would have helped. I'm still figuring it out. It tasted phenomenal it was just a little on the heavy/grainy side. I also removed the star anise before blending. I don't recommend fermenting coconut into a sauce. As intriguing as it seemed, it was the least identifiable flavour and only contributed to the texture issue. Imperfect, but not at all ruined. 

Also, a great tip, if you have a batch that has a lot of little seeds or small floaty bits that don't want to stay submerged, you can cut a circle from a cabbage leaf and use that as a lid to place under your weight. It will keep everything submerged underneath as you can see below. 

Smoky Fermented Hot Sauce

This one was a fun experiment! I mean they all are, but this one especially. I love smoky and spicy together. Although I don't find it that spicy, chipotle is one of my favourite flavours (smoked, dried jalapeño). Last January I got some dried chilies as a birthday present and among them was chipotle and smoked/dried habanero (would love to know the Spanish word for that if anyone knows!). I got to thinking about what it would be like to make a fermented version of these. Bacteria needs natural starch and sugar to feed on and ferment. But both of those in a chili pepper are depleted when they're smoked and dried. It doesn't give the bacteria much to feed on so they don't ferment well. It got me thinking, what if I made a hot sauce with the fresh versions (plus garlic, of course) and added the smoked/dried versions as well for flavour. It was spectacular! One of my favourites. I will definitely be trying this method again. Surprisingly, the smoked chilies turned the brine the colour of black coffee. That happened within the first 24 hours! The only issue with this batch is I had that thick/grainy issue like my Thai-inspired sauce. I think after 2½ weeks of sitting in a brine I expected the dried chilies to rehydrate and soften but they didn't end up getting that soft. So the batch had more of that robust quality to it and the texture was a little too brawny. Next time I'll be more careful about how much I add. At the time I was very eager to add the smoky flavour and ensure it was there. 

Again, I really love hot sauces and making my own fermented varieties has ignited a passion within me. I hope it does the same for you! When peaches are back in season in late summer I want to feature them in a batch. I'm definitely redoing the banana pepper/pineapple/ginger one (only perhaps with Scotch Bonnet this time instead of habanero). I've only just discovered the smoked pepper treatment and how well that works. There will be more for sure. 

If you have any questions, please leave them for me below. I'll do my best to answer them. On that note, I'd like to reaffirm something: I love very spicy hot sauce, exceptionally so. My hot sauces are akin to that. I don't want that to turn you off from this if you have a normal to non-existent spice tolerance. Ways that you can make a batch milder are to use milder peppers, remove some or all of the membranes and the seeds, use more aromatic flavourings like onion, garlic, ginger, fruit, herbs, bell pepper, carrot, whatever you want! You are the indisputable boss of your sauce. You can make it anyway you like! 

Happy Fermenting!