One of our favourite fermentation books is Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. We've come to love so many of the recipes and we adore recommending it as a stellar resource in our fermentation workshops. We are SO excited to announce their new book, Fiery Ferments. This beautiful book has 70 recipes for spicy ferments like hot sauce, achar, sambal, salsa starters, relishes and kimchi with a kick. Kirsten and Christopher were kind enough to let me share two recipes with you and boy, was it ever hard to choose, they all looked amazing! We settled on a Sriracha with a lot of heat for you spice lovers and a milder recipe for tamer tongues for a Pico de Gallo salsa starter.
Marcus McCauley’s Srirawcha recipe (sriracha sauce made with raw ingredients) is a two-part process: first you ferment the pepper mash, then you mix the mash with garlic and sugar. You can depart from this recipe to use any type of peppers you like, but remember that your choice will affect the taste, consistency, and heat level of the sauce.
(makes just over 1 L)
5 large red bell peppers
6–7 red jalapeños
2–3 fresh red cayenne peppers
2 tablespoons salt
½ cup evaporated cane sugar (or other sweetener to taste)
3 cloves garlic
1. Remove the seeds and stems from the bell peppers, jalapeños, and cayenne peppers. Chop the peppers coarsely.
2. Add the salt, mix well, and let sit for about 1 hour.
3. Blend the pepper mixture to a smooth paste.
4. Pack into your favorite fermenting vessel, and let the paste ferment on your countertop for 4 to 5 days. At this point you can either move right to the next stage or, if the paste is in a fermentation vessel with an airlock, transfer it to the fridge, where it will keep for up to 12 months; in the fridge it will continue to age and evolve until you are ready to convert it to a finished sauce.
Blend the pepper mash, sugar, and garlic into a smooth paste. Adjust the salt to taste. Store in the refrigerator, where the sauce will keep for 12 months.
Basic Pico de Gallo Starter
This simple starter can be used for any kind of salsa fresca, from tomato to watermelon. It also works well stirred into avocados for guacamole. After fermentation, to make salsa, add ½ cup of the starter to 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes (or whatever fresh ingredients you dream up).
(makes 1 L)
10 jalapeños, or a combination of chiles
1 bunch cilantro
6–8 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Dice and mince the onions, poblano, jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, and lime zest by hand, or pulse in a food processor to achieve a chunky fresh-salsa consistency. Mix in the lime juice, salt, and pepper.
2. Pack the mixture into a jar, pressing out any air pockets as you go. Press a ziplock bag against the surface of the ferment, fill the bag with water, and zip it closed.
3. Place the jar in a corner of the kitchen to ferment. If you see air pockets, remove the bag, press the ferment back down with a clean utensil, rinse the bag, and replace.
4. Allow to ferment for 7 to 14 days. You will know it is ready when the colours have muted and the flavor has an acidic lemon-like or pickle-y flavor.
5. Place a clean small round of plastic or parchment paper directly on top of the paste. Screw on the lid, then store in the fridge, where this ferment will keep for up to 12 months.
Excerpted from Fiery Ferments, © by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher Shockey, photography by © Lara Ferroni, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
A heartfelt thanks to Kirsten and Christopher. For more of their recipes, check out our post about their first book where we share their recipe for fermented garlic paste and fermented rhubarb and head over to their website or pick up your own copy of Fiery Ferments.