Ají Picante Colombiano (Colombian Hot Sauce)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1-2 habanero peppers chopped and seeded
- 1-2 green onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup small red bell pepper chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes peeled and seeded
This may surprise a lot of you, but most Colombian food is not spicy. I know, most people think that Latin cuisine is a lot like Mexican food, filled with those deliciously spicy sauces and seasonings, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Food in Colombia tends to be more on the comfort side, a bit more mellow but filled with a lot of flavor. That's why we love to use lots of cumin, cilantro, achiote, garlic, onions, tamarind, all those exotic spices that when blended make every meal a special treat.
However, we do like to make hot sauce to serve as a side dish should anyone care to add it to their meal. It is almost always served in the middle of the table for anyone to grab, just like salt and pepper. And it is always used as a side dish for Colombian empanadas. In fact, eating an empanada without hot sauce just doesn't taste the same.
For this recipe you can use any kind of hot pepper you want. I usually use one or two habanero peppers to give it a mild, spicy kick but I personally could raise it up a notch. Now, if you're not that much into spicy food you can make it a bit lighter by using a jalapeño pepper or just skipping it altogether. It's your hot sauce, your blender, your food, your choice. Either way, it's still delicious.