Miss Dotties is an addictive hot sauce with Madras curry flavor. Like a few of my other sauces, this one originates partially from a hot sauce I tried and enjoyed on my travels and partially from some flavors that I crave. Based on the following for this sauce, others crave it as well.
I make and use a lot of hot sauces. I also give a lot of hot sauce away to deserving recipients. This is one that folks come back asking for. The secret is the Madras curry. Curry powder is one of those tastes that draw folks in. From Singapore rice noodles to German Currywurst, curry adds a flavor that we cannot get enough of. When the smell of curry is in the air, we instantly become hungry.
My first recollection of a curry hot sauce was on a trip to the Virgin Islands. Conch fritters were served with a variety of hot sauces. One was in a small used rum bottle with a hand drawn label made from a brown paper bag. Give it a try, and my eyes were opened. I think I spent two days tracking down the source to take some home. To ensure a continued supply, I made my own at home.
The first batches used prepared curry powder from the local Indian grocery. It was good, but as any Indian chef will tell you, the secret to good spicing is freshness. Each component must be fresh, and the preparation must be fresh. It makes a terrific difference that is easy to discern. I decided to make my own curry powder. It’s easy, and it is the best curry powder ever. I don’t think I have ever made it the same way twice, but that is ok. The freshness of the components and the toasting and grinding are the keys to good curry powder flavor.
To make a batch of Miss Dotties, you will need about a cup and a half of curry powder. You might want to make extra, just in case you need to make some other curry dishes once your house smells like curry.
4 T whole coriander
4T cumin seeds
1T yellow mustard seeds
1T fennel seeds
25 pods Chile de Arbol, stemmed
2T freshly ground cinnamon
4T black peppercorns
1t ground nutmeg
2t whole cloves
1T decorticated cardamom seeds
1T fresh turmeric powder
1T fresh ground ginger powder
Isn’t decorticated a great word? As I said above, you may vary the spices to suit your taste. Sometimes I add fenugreek instead of nutmeg, sometimes I bump up one of the spices (cumin, for example) to get a certain profile, and other times I may use different chilies (Thai bird or dried habaneros). Habanero seemed redundant here, so I used Chile de Arbol which I have in great supply thanks to some ristras I made from last summer’s garden.
Heat a dry skillet over low heat. I like to use cast iron or carbon steel for this. Add the coriander, cumin, mustard, fennel, and chilies. Toast until they become aromatic and seeds begin to pop. Stir and make sure the seeds do not scorch. Add the remaining items to the pan and continue to stir until everything is warm and aromatic.
Grind in batches in a spice grinder. Store in a tightly closed jar until ready to use.
Now for the sauce. Peel about five heads of garlic. That is about two cups of cloves. Roughly chop five medium sized yellow onions. Put them in a pot. Add 2T coarse sea salt and two cups water to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot.
For the hot peppers, I like to use a mix of chilies. All capsicum Chinense, the family that includes habaneros and Scotch bonnets. A mix of chilies brings a bouquet of tropical fruits to the sauce. I have orange, yellow, peach, and chocolate habaneros; red, yellow, and chocolate Bhut Jolokia; yellow Scotch bonnets; Moruga Scorpion; and some unknown hot peppers. In all, I used about 80-100 for this size batch.
Cut the stems off, cut the chilies in half and pop out the seeds. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I try to get most of the seeds out and leave the flesh of the peppers. Wear gloves if you want, but I never have much of a problem without gloves. Just don’t touch eyes or other sensitive anatomy! Add the cleaned up chilies to the pot and let them simmer. Cover the pot.
When the onions, garlic and peppers are soft, add two 24 ounce bottles of French’s yellow mustard. Pour about a cup and a half of white vinegar into one of the mustard jars and shake it up to get the last of the mustard out. Pour the vinegar over into the other mustard bottle and repeat. Add the mustard-y vinegar to the pot. Add 1-1/4 cups of curry powder, 4T ground cumin, and 1T turmeric to the pot. Stir to combine. Simmer 5 minutes and then hit it with a stick blender to puree to a smooth consistency. If you don’t have a good stick blender, then process the sauce in a blender, but be careful!
I bottle the sauce in 10-12 ounce woozy bottles. Wash the bottles in soapy water, rinse and then sterilize in a boiling water bath. Do the same with the caps. I use a turkey baster to fill the bottles. Make sure the sauce is hot when bottling to help with shelf life.
Cap the bottles with sterilized caps. I add a label and shrink band to make each bottle look professional. I keep bottles of sauce in our cool basement for about a year. It doesn’t stay around any longer than that between what I use and give away.
I have quite a few hot sauce recipes out there now. I recommend trying what you like and experiment to make your own unique flavors. Try to pair hot sauces with the foods you enjoy. Miss Dotties is great on hot dogs and sausages, egg rolls, fried chicken, and ham sandwiches. I could think of more things to use it on, but I’m off to the next project!