This is as old school as a recipe could possibly get on CaribbeanPot.com. Not just the recipe but the tool and technique I’ll be using. Before the days of blenders and food processors, we had food mills. Used to grind the dhal for making dhalpuri roti, preparing the dried fruits for making traditional black/rum cake, making homemade pepper sauces, grinding dried corn for making chilli bibbi and various other uses in the kitchen. Luckily my mom brought a mill for me many years back and with the abundance of fiery hot peppers in my garden last summer, I thought I’d dust out the Mr. mill and share this recipe with you all. Hopefully I’ll give you a glimpse into a glorious past.. something we seem to be losing touch with.
Hot Peppers (about 4-6 cups chopped)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup white vinegar
Note: As mentioned this past summer I had an excellent crop of Scotch Bonnet, Habanero, Chocolate Scotch Bonnet and Trinidad Moruga Scorpions… all deadly peppers. But you can use any 1 or do a mix as I did. Traditionally in the Caribbean we would use Scotch Bonnet peppers for this recipe.
IMPORTANT: Be mindful that these peppers are extremely hot and the oils can cause serious irritation (and pain). Do wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after with soap and water. Do not touch any sensitive areas after handling these peppers.
Wash the peppers and trim off the stems and give the peppers a rough chop. For a fiery peppersauce leave the seeds, if not do remove them if you wish to tame things down. Give the cilantro (traditionally in the Caribbean you’d use Chadon beni) and garlic a rough chop as well.
Now it’s time to set up the mill on a sturdy work bench (I used the desk in our kitchen). Assemble the mill, then adjust the settings at the back (2 screw-like things) to control the texture of the ground pepper. Once you start turning the handle with the peppers in the catchment area you’ll be able to better determine the coarseness you want. When clamping down the mill to your work surface I would recommend using a piece of cloth or paper towels to protect the area from getting damaged as you tighten it.
Place a deep bowl under the area where the ground peppers will fall, then start adding a mixture of the garlic, peppers and chopped cilantro into the mill and start cranking. Keep a wooden spoon handy as you may have to press down on everything for it to work through the mill. (watch the video below).
Remember this is when you can adjust the coarseness.. so adjust accordingly.
I would even recommend using safety goggles when cranking and pushing down on the peppers in the event you get hit in the eye with any of the juices. To finish up all you have to do is mix in the vinegar, salt and lime (or lemon) juice and mix well with the ground peppers.
This recipe is as traditional and basic as you can get when it comes to peppersauce in the Caribbean. You can now get creative and add other ingredients like papaya (green), bitter melon, carrots and other herbs. Since we used vinegar this pepper sauce can remain on your kitchen counter as the vinegar will act as a preservative. For a longer shelf life you can certainly keep it in the fridge, but I’ve noticed that when you leave hot sauces in the fridge it somehow tames the heat factor! Store in a clean glass container.
Back in the day I remember my Uncle B (I spoke about him in my cookbook) would handle all the peppers with his bare hands and he’d be cool with it. My man hand hands of steel.. and everyone sought his help when they were making peppersauce!
I didn’t have any Scotch Bonnet peppers. I’ve never seen them in a store here either with the exception of ground up in a sauce, so I used my home grown Ghost peppers. WOW! HOT, HOT, HOT!!! I used some of my Habaneros along with red, yellow and orange bell peppers and this stuff has such a great flavor. I did manage to find a food mill almost exactly like yours (LF&C Climax 50 food grinder…same cutting surface). I picked it up for $7.50 and a local second hand store and am reconditioning it. I also picked up a Mince-O-Matic 7 for $2.50! I had my reservations but it worked wonderfully giving the perfect consistency to the sauce and it’s super easy to clean. I let my sauce sit in the fridge for a week and a half before I touched it…other than just a taste. It just got better and hotter. I stirred about a teaspoon or a touch more to a few bowls of chilli and man that stuff was good. It gave an amazing flavor to the beef, tomato and black bean chilli. It was fantastic with taco meat too. I love it!!! I’m going to make more today. I have so many Ghost peppers. I am going to use them in some of your other sauce recipes. I have no doubt they will turn out just as great as this one did…such a sweet, tangy, fruity heat that will make you sweat. I had to have seconds of everything just because I was craving more of the flavor and heat from the sauce.
I have since made a second, full batch of this sauce, because it’s soooo good. I love this stuff! As I mentioned, I’ve never had the opportunity to taste a Scotch Bonnet. The local Caribbean market only carries Habaneros which I can get just about anywhere and they’re cheap but great. So I can’t say what an authentic batch would taste like but the mix of Ghost peppers and Habaneros give this a magnificent flavor and a heat that is fantastic. I may even make another batch to can.
hi chris i planted scotch bonnet but i picked them in the green color instead of letting them ripe to red color wht can i do i want to make pepper sauce. thanks kiran
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I do intend on trying it out. I noticed that you have a cook time of 5 mins. Must this sauce be cooked?
My husband tried this at a friend’s house and he raved about it so much I would like to try and make it myself!
Can you tell me if a food processor can be used instead of a mill? I don’t have a mill and don’t want to buy one if I don’t need to.
Most definitely.. I have several pepper sauce recipes on here using both the food processor and blender. Try adding fruits and citrus.. even herbs to add a punch of flavor as well.
With your recipe how much mango and carrots, and should vinegar etc. be adjusted? Really appreciate your help. Thank you!
HOw much lemon or lime do you need…you do not list it in your ingredients.
My mom’s family adds a secret ingredient that they add to boost the hotness of the pepper. It works really well! (They are trini) Thank you for the recipe! This year I planted a garden, so this time we will grow our peppers. Usually my uncle gives us some from his garden.Again, thank you!
I just used all my cilantro for your green seasoning recipe, now I’ve stumbled upon this and it’s back to the market for me!
I married into a Trini family, and I think Trini food is the best food in the world. I love your website and your recipes. My husband found it and shared with me. Thanks so much for your recipes and videos.
thanks for the kind comment about our cuisine and for supporting my work. Kindly pass on my regards to your husband.
Just joined the group. I have peppers of all kinds and came across this recipe. So as not to waste any peppers, I’m starting to can my foods and wondering if I am able to can this recipe in a water bath without losing the flavor. I certainly will start trying out your other recipes, for sure.
most certainly.. you may loose a little heat with time though
The recipe looks great and I’m going to give this a try and post the results on my blog. I have quite a lot of scotch bonnets growing in the garden this year. Do you dry yours if you have a big crop? It’s very hot here in Fuerteventura and very dry and it looks like the peppers on my plants are drying out naturally so I’m hoping for a good store of dried chillies for the winter.
I have grown some Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers and since they are so hot I decided to make some hot sauce so I can use a little at a time. Thank you for having this recipe and the many recipes we can use when we want to try something from home.
Could this be made using a blender or food processor?
Want to buy the scotch bonnet peppers, red and chocolate.
Another Trinidad memory – thank you!This is going to be a surprise “gift” to my husband, who likes his sauces and curries HOT! I also have now planted those little jolly fellows on our terrace!
can i use a blender ?
yes, that is definitely the option for today’s culture
Can you use a food processor?
Hi Chris, love your recipes,they are excellent…thanks for sharing…
I make my own pepper sauce also. but instead of the mill grinding I blend the same ingredients in my food processor. Sometimes I have pepper that last me for a year or more. Thanks for posting this recipe, all should learn the simple things so that they could save money.
Could I use anything other than vinegar could I use juice?
I’ve always wanted to know how this was made. Thanks for the lesson.
Your recipes are excellent and I appreciate the effort you or your webmaster.