Adam Liaw's fermented red chilli-cherry hot sauce

Adam Liaw
Adam Liaw's Christmas red and green hot sauces.
Adam Liaw's Christmas red and green hot sauces.  Photo: William Meppem

Choose your chillies wisely when making this sauce – their heat determines whether your sauce will blow your top or add a gentle hum of heat.


500g fresh red chillies, roughly chopped (a mixture of large red chillies, bird's eye and a habanero or two)

10 dried red chillies, torn

100g cherries, pips removed and flesh halved

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

30g salt

¼ cup (60ml) white vinegar

2 tsp caster sugar


1. Combine the chillies, cherries, garlic and onion in a large glass container. Boil 1 litre of water in a large pot and let it cool to lukewarm. Mix the salt into it, making sure it is fully dissolved. This makes a 3 per cent brine solution. Pour enough of the brine over the chilli mixture to cover, and place a plate or bowl with a weight on top to keep the mixture submerged in the brine. Cover the container with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool, dark place for one week.

2. After one week, strain the solids from the brine, reserving the brine. Place the solids in a blender and add the vinegar and caster sugar and blend at high speed to a very smooth puree. Add as much of the brine as you like to bring the sauce to your preferred consistency. Transfer to sterilised glass bottles.

Adam's tip Keep your hot sauces in the fridge. Open the red sauce periodically because it will continue to ferment. If too much gas builds up, the bottle may explode. You can stop the fermentation by pasteurising the sauce (boiling the bottles, or boiling the sauce itself) but I prefer to keep the biology active.

Also try: Adam Liaw's quick green jalapeno, peach and coriander hot sauce

Find more of Adam Liaw's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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