In the audio below she talks to Evan Kleiman about tinkering with various spices, fruits, herbs and even rum in her hot sauces.
Curried Papaya Ginger Sauce
(Excerpted from Hot Sauce! (c) by Jennifer Trainer Thompson, photography (c) by Tara Donne, used with permission from Storey Publishing.)
Papaya is a natural meat tenderizer; skin an unripe green one and you’ll see the white milky liquid. When ripe, papayas lend a sweet tropical flavor and body to hot sauces, as well as an aromatic fragrance that is made all the more complex when compounded by habanero chiles.
Makes 2 to 3 cups.
6–8 fresh habanero chiles, stemmed (seeded if desired)
2 ripe papayas, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus more as needed
¼ cup Mount Gay gold rum
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1–2 teaspoons curry powder (see recipe below), plus more as needed
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1.Add all of the ingredients to a blender and process until just smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more curry or ginger as desired.
2.Pour into a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered.
3.Let cool, and then pour into bottles. If not eaten right away, the sauce will keep for 4 weeks in the refrigerator, or longer if sealed and placed on the shelf.
An essential ingredient in Caribbean hot sauces, curry powder is easy to make. Dry-roasting the seeds and grinding them yourself will lead to a more aromatic sauce. Play around with what you like, adding more of this, a dash of that. Other ingredients to consider and play with are whole cloves, fennel seeds, and cinnamon sticks.
Makes ½ cup
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or other pure chile powder
1. In a skillet, dry-roast the seeds, one variety at a time, over medium heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer all the seeds to a spice grinder (I use a coffee grinder dedicated to the purpose), add the peppercorns, and grind to a powder.
2. Transfer to an airtight container, mix in the turmeric, ginger, and cayenne, and cover.