Help needed with homemade hot sauce

I’ve made my first batch of homemade hot sauce. It’s really good but lacking the Mexican flavour (think Cholula) that I’m searching for. What am I missing here?

These are the ingredients I’ve used thus far:
1/2 large yellow onion
1 carrot
18 red jalapeño peppers (they were small like peppadews and very sweet - I suspect this is the problem)
5 smashed cloves of garlic
good pinch of Spanish smoked paprika
heaping tsp of Hungarian sweet paprika
heaping tsp of tomato powder
salt
water
white vinegar

I sautéed the vegetables in just a touch of oil for a few minutes then added the spices for a couple more. In went the water and I simmered for about 20 minutes. Cooled the mixture and then placed in blender and pureed until smooth. Then I drizzled in the vinegar (about 3/4c) whilst the blender was running.

It’s really delicious and would go great with fish or chicken but tastes more like a spicy red pepper coulis than a Mexican style hot sauce. I placed half of that batch in a bottle and then threw in a chipotle in adobo to the blender with the remaining. It’s getting there but still not what I’m after. Any ideas on additional flavours to add? Cumin? It seems to lack umami or something.

If anyone has a favourite hot sauce recipe they are willing to share, I’d be thrilled. I’m planning on experimenting quite a bit. I can no longer buy store bought because of the xanthan gum in them all (gives me terrible stomach troubles for days on end).

I would guess too much non-chile stuff. Cholula is water, arbol and pequin peppers, salt, vinegar and spices.

The new batch might benefit from a night in the fridge to meld. Or if it is still not spicy enough, can you re-purpose it as enchilada sauce?

Take out the onion, carrot, paprika, garlic and tomato powder. A good hot sauce should just be chiles, water, salt and vinegar. I would use dried chile arbols and maybe some ancho chiles., not fresh chiles. Soak them in hot water, then blend with the other ingredients.

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Okay, thanks. After further research, I believe dried is the way to go as you suggest. I will leave out the other non-traditional ingredients.

I will definitely make the recipe I posted above again but really want to create a great Mexican sauce.

this requires time and patience but is a very good template.

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Thanks! I will give this a shot.

Do you make hot sauce with dried peppers Boogie?

I have. I tend to do more Asian inspired hot sauce and sambals though, as we live in an area where I can buy dozens of different mexican style hot sauces. I use dried arbols and take off the steams and deseed them (just press gently and shake the seeds out). I usually soak them in boiling water to soften because I think they blend better that way. Depending on what I’m making (or throwing together), I might add some fresh red Thai bird or red Fresno chilies but not always. I usually don’t make hot/chilli sauce with green chilies.

I think a lot of the commercial sauces that are thin strain the solids out of the sauce. I don’t. I don’t ferment either – I use vinegar or rice wine vinegar as a preservative, but I also keep the sauce in the fridge. I make it in smaller batches that I can use up within a month or so.

Look over in the Fermented section for my instructions on making a fermented hot sauce. Most hot sauces use fresh peppers, not dried. Dried peppers make a dried pepper tasting sauce. Bleh!

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ETA: I have a friend who grows ghost peppers. I usually make chili oil with the ones she gives me (heat oil, cut peppers in half and steep, then strain). I haven’t tried making hot sauce with them but I do make ghost pepper salsa. I’ll try the fermented hot sauce method to experiment as soon as the peppers are ready to pick.

The author in the article you linked says that any mold that grows is harmless, but can add an unpleasant flavor. Then he/she suggests that you deal with mold by stirring it back into the fermenting sauce(!) - which would seem to guarantee the addition of the unpleasant flavor. Is it possible to scoop off the bulk of the mold before stirring and reclosing, without interfering with the fermentation process?

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you can absolutely scrape off the mold. i have never any issues with mold and wold ferments, but my kitchen doesn’t get really hot, not even in summer. even so? just keep your eye on it so nothing gets out of hand!

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Asian, not Mexican

typo-rama! have never HAD any issues with mold and WILD ferments.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold