I have long been fascinated with hot chilis and hot sauces or salsas. I absolutely love fresh grilled jalapenos, serranos or pasilla/poblanos with a BBQ.
I often times say that my Chimichurris are the best . . . and that no-one else quite stands up, or is of equal; but what I always say is sauces and salsas are like opinions; everyone’s got one and they all stink. Something like that!
Family recipes have been around for a long time and many have even transformed from one family through marriage to culminate into even better sauces . . . but completely distinct and different from the original. One thing that embarrasses me is when a student at my school can’t conceivably develop his or her own sauce . . . without a recipe. Jackass!
Recently at work, one of my co-workers had visited Beliz and brought to the office a bottle of Marie Sharp’s Belizian Heat Hot Sauce. The co-worker had told us, “this is the best around”. I tried the sauce cautiously. Just a dab . . . it is Habanero for God’s sake . . . have some respect. I quickly found my self using it by the tablespoon because there was so much flavor of the Habanero pepper, but without the scalding heat. I was sold!
During my recent trip to Cancun, I quickly realized my proximity to Beliz and Cozumel. Heck I’m so geographically challenged I forget that Las Vegas is north . . . not south, next to Tijuana. Anyway, while in Cancun we ate a lot of South American and Mexican food. “You got any salsa?”, I would ask. Every time they brought out a Habanero sauce or salsa. I think only twice I was warned, “hey meester, ees hot”. Always presuming that salsas are hot . . . kinda like testing the shower water before you get in, I would proceed cautiously only to find out that almost every Habanero salsa brought to me was, in fact, quite mild . . . full of incredible Habanero flavor, but without the death heat that normally follows Habanero salsas here in the States.
Inquiring about their secrets, I was told they use carrots to retain the Habanero color and the carrots have a mild flavor if incorporated properly that doesn’t distract from the wonderful fruitiness of the Habanero. Upon my return to the US I have found this recipe that resembles most of what I have researched for the accuracy of the secret Habanero salsas in the south. Although it sounds quite similar to many other recipes of its type, the secret lays with the following information given to me through telepathy from a Mayan culinary God buried beneath the soils of Tulum. He said . . . “if too spicy, don’t add more carrots, but reduce the chilis”. I guess he was saying that the addition of more carrots only changes the flavor too drastically instead of lowering the Scoville factor.
Here’s a recipe: Give ‘er a try. Remember you can always add more chili to bring the Habanero flavor up . . . otherwise you’ll have to start over.
Belizean Habanero Sauce
The Belizeans have created a very distinctive style of sauce which is characterised by the addition of carrots. If you can get organic or even better home-grown then the carrot influence will be all the more pronounced.
1 small Onion — chopped
2 cloves Garlic — chopped
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 cup chopped Carrots
2 cups Water
4 Habanero Peppers, seeded and fine chopped
3 tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
3 tablespoons white Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
Remove stems and seeds from peppers – take the necessary precautions when handling hot peppers.
Saute onion in oil until soft but not browned. Add carrots and water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, add vinegar and simmer until the carrots are soft. Remove from heat . Add chilies, garlic, lime juice and salt to the carrot mixture. Place in processor and puree until smooth.
Give ‘er a try
Let me know if they’re too hot for ya.