Hot Sauce (Lacto-fermented)

The hot sauce we make to sell at The Fermentary is made purely from our by-products - the liquid leftover from the kimchi with the spent fruit and ginger from our water kefir barrels - blended together, cooked and thickened with agar, and let sit. 

This one is more like a Sriracha or a Tabasco - thin and to be shaken gently to splatter and decorate rather than smear or luxuriate. 

You can hold the chillis under the brine anyway you'd like - an apple, chunk of carrot or onion piece jammed against the shoulder of your jar works well if the jar is small, but as usual, weighing down with stones or a weight on a plate for example works too. 

I have written a recipe in my book Ferment for Good, but here is the one we made with Sandor Katz on the Ferment Yourself Wild tour at Palisa Andersons Boonluck Farm. It was our first workshop of the tour.


  • 10 large chillies (or enough to fill your jar)
  • 2-5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • approx 1 litre water
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • pinch of sugar or pieces of dried or fresh fruit as you like


  • 1 -2 litre jar with lid
  • Fermentation Weights (rocks or a good chunk of veg to hold the chillies down under the brine)
  • Jug for brine
  • Spoon for stirring

Post fermentation 

  • Bottle/s with lid for when it's ready
  • Blender or way to grind the chillies after fermentation
  • Funnel


Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Fermentation time: 2 weeks plus

  • Pop your clean chillies into your jar
  • Add any other vegetables you have - the carrot, garlic, onion and ginger
  • Make your brine separately - stirring the salt vigorously into a container of water until dissolved
  • Pour this brine over your vegetables until they are well covered. You need to make sure you have the jar nice and full, more chillies than brine or your brine won't have the intense flavour you're looking for.
  • You want to hold your chillies underneath the brine so either a piece of carrot, half an onion, half an apple or fermentation weights sitting atop your chillies would work well.
  • Lid your jar, and sit it somewhere out of direct sunlight for a few weeks. I usually leave mine for about a month. When you are ready, pull out the vegetables and pop them into a blender. Only add as much liquid as you'd like. The more brine, the runnier the sauce will be so I usually start off with just the chillies, and slowly add the brine until it tastes good. Because - it really is all about that, right?  (Think about how you imagine using this sauce - I like to splash it on scrambled eggs, or tofu. Noodles that need a kick. I use this one more as a splash than a pour). 
  • When you have it how you like it - bottle it up into a very clean - (boiled water clean) bottle. Lid it and refrigerate, and don't forget to add it to your food. x

1 comment

  • I am wondering whether my hot sauce ferment is safe to consume. It is discoloured and mouldy on to but 2cm down looks fine. It doesn’t smell offensive.

    Kim Kipping


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