Jamaican Habanero Sauce, from A Collection of Fine Free Recipes by a Chef and Restaurant Owner
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HABANERO sauce recipe


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HABANERO  recipe

 sauce   HABANERO recipe

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Jamaica has a great touch with habanero chiles. They also have a great spice and fruit tradition. Salsa Mataguerro is my take on a traditional, very hot and complex Jamaican style habanero sauce. Culinarily, it is quite related to the curries and chile sambals of India. The term Mataguerro can be roughly traslated as "kill pale ones" in Spanish, and for good reason. The three dominant chiles give it an interesting taste sensation. When Mataguerro Habanero Sauce is first tasted, the most predominate flavors are the fruits and spices, with a bit of a warm bite from the New Mexico Nativo chiles. After a few moments, the smaller red chiles come in with a stronger fire, along with the ginger and maybe a hint of the molasses. About this point the full, fine, white fire blast of the Habaneros comes roaring in. Go Zen, relax and enjoy.

This stuff is great in a lot of places. It is welcome just about anywhere you find good, spicy food. It is killer on pizza and with seafood cocktails. It mellows out around Cajun food and is a real kick in a glass of tomato juice with a shot of clam juice, a bunch of lime juice and maybe a bit of vodka, tequila or white rum. It is excellent with venison and other strongly flavored meats. Consider Mataguerro Sauce as sort of a nuclear powered ketchup or salsa, and try it on just about anything.


First, a bit of a warning. Be very careful when handling Habanero Chiles. I hope you have good Habaneros, and if you do, treat them with respect. When you work with good Habanero Chile it gets on your hands and gets spread around if you are not very, very careful. Habaneros can burn sensitive skin badly, cause excrutiating agony if gotten on sensitive body parts, and can be of serious medical concern around the eyes. Many people wear gloves when handling Habaneros.

Start with 12-20 Habanero Chiles. If fresh, chop up coarsely. If dry, soak in bit of warm water one hour. Reserve the Habaneros.

Break open 3 or 4 good red Nativo New Mexico chiles, the ones in the ristras. Take out seeds, break up rest and soak in just enough warm water to cover. Reserve these too. In a heavy saucepan, add:

  • Tbl peanut oil

Heat up a bit and add:

  • Tbl whole mustard seed

Saute a bit till seed starts popping, then add:

  • 3 or 4 big cloves garlic, rough chop
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped

Saute around for a bit, add:

  • 4 or 5 chilpotle chiles, (smoked ripe jalapenos), canned are fine. If no chilpotles, use several broken up small hot red chiles like pequines, pico de pajaro, or whatever you have as long as they are rather assertive.

Toss around some more, then add:

  • small handful raisins
  • 1/4 cp vinegar
  • 1/4 cp brown sugar
  • 2 tbl black molasses
  • the reserved Nativo and Habanero chiles and soaking water
  • good grind of black pepper
  • bit of salt
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • enough pineapple juice for a sauce-like consistency

Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stir occasionally. Run through a food processor or a food mill. Enjoy the fire!

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