The Fatalii is a variety of super-hot chili peppers which is relatively unknown to most laypersons. Certain super-hot varieties such as the habanero and ghost pepper have gained a certain popularity and notoriety in recent years, fueled primarily, in my opinion, by the media and the Food Network (see Bobby Flay’s habanero fetish) and such “I dare you to eat this” challenges as featured on shows like Man vs. Food. As a matter of fact there are dozens of more or less obscure varieties of super-hot peppers which offer a wide range of flavors, experiences and heat sensations, which are only accessible to those with the time, space and patience to cultivate them from seeds.
As it were, while planning my garden this year I ordered some fatalii pepper seeds purely based on the brief description on Pepper Joe’s seed catalog which promised a “citrus flavor” that would grow extremely well in hot weather. I had no idea that this was a pepper which some claim to be among the hottest on earth. But it did grow relatively well and I have had plenty to experiment with, although my fatalii plants have not been anywhere near as prolific as my scotch bonnets. They are thin-skinned and easy to dry, but I have been allowing them to accumulate in my freezer in the hope of experimenting with some sauces.
I have had mixed results with making hot sauces in general. My best results to date have probably been from fresh fermented hot sauces, which eschew vinegar in favor of the lactic acid produced from lacto-fermentation. My attempts at vinegar-based hot sauces have included some successes as well as failures. I have been reluctant to waste my fatalii harvest in an untried sauce recipe that turned out poorly, but I have been reluctant to use any of them in mixed pepper sauces as I want to experience the unique flavor of this exotic pepper in as pure and unadulterated a form as possible. I have scoured the internet for “tried and true” fatalii hot sauce recipes, but have not found any that I have had the motivation to try. For whatever reason, I have an aversion to sauces that contain fruits such as mangoes or papayas and this appears to be standard when it comes to fatalii hot sauce recipes.
This weekend I decided to dust off a very simple but very solid recipe for a scotch bonnet hot sauce that I had made several months ago. It consisted of scribbled notes based on a recipe that I had found somewhere on the internet and modified slightly to fit the ingredients I had happened to have on hand. It was a solid sauce though and simple enough that the peppers would be the star of the show. So I swapped fataliis for scotch bonnets, increased the proportion of water and vinegar, added a shot of rum, and went for it.
Approx. 200 grams Fataliis and other peppers (I added a few scotch bonnets and sweet peppers)
300 ml Water
200 ml red vinegar
100 ml white vinegar
.5 Tbsp sea salt
5 tsp brown sugar
1 shot Havana Club white rum
Chop the peppers. Don a mask of some sort and saute in a skillet for five minutes (or as long as your eyes, nose, and throat can stand the fumes).
Add the brown sugar, salt, vinegar and water and simmer another five minutes or so.
At this point the fumes and the smell of the vinegar was making things unbearable for my better half so I decided to move things outside…
Pour mixture into blender (allow to cool first if desired, else use a towel over the top of the blender to allow steam to escape). Add rum and puree until smooth.
Pour into hot sauce bottles or mismatched mason jars and store in fridge.
Results: a sweet, citrusy sauce that is hotter than the fires of hell. A little bit of this goes a loooonnnnnnnnngggg way. But I am very happy with the flavor and will be making this again.
Editor’s Note: I tasted a smidgeon of this off of a spoon in order to write the above taste review. By the time I had finished typing those two sentences I had to run and eat some yogurt to stop the searing pain. I kind of wish I had gone with a mango-based sauce…………