Passionfruit Hot Sauce with Tostones
Author: Wendy Zheng
Photographer: Cam Lam
I live and die by sour hot sauce. Whether it be Thai seafood sauce, Marie Sharp’s Belizean Heat, or El Yucateco Habanero, vinegar/citrus based hot sauce is the ideal accoutrement to any dish.The sharp acid and jarring heat cuts through any cloying greasiness and adds a jolt of flavor that makes even the most bland dishes palatable. Consequently, when I came across a blog post on how to make fermented and unfermented hot sauce at home, a whirlwind of pepper, vinegar, vegetable, fruit, and spice pairings raced through my mind.
For my first attempt at hot sauce, I figured I would go all out and mix two of my favorite ingredients in the entire world: passionfruit and habanero. I’m a firm believer that passionfruit’s tartness enhances any dessert, drink, or savory dish, and this passion fruit hot sauce is no exception. Although the fruity aroma and appearance of the hot sauce could fool an unassuming diner into thinking it was a smoothie bowl, the first taste would shock their taste buds with the immediate pungent bite of the habanero and the rounded afternotes of the passionfruit. Serve it with a hearty appetizer or meat, like these boiled, then fried tostones, and get ready to get lost in the sauce.
Passionfruit Hot Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of hot sauce
1 cup of pure passionfruit juice (I used the Goya brand which you can find in Mexican/Latin supermarkets)
3 habanero peppers
⅓ cup of light olive oil
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
Boil the habanero peppers for 10-15 minutes. Place the hot peppers in cold water. Remove the skin. You can optionally remove the seeds as well for a less spicy hot sauce, but I think the strong heat from the habanero really balances out the passionfruit!¹
¹I don’t find the deskinning step to be that necessary, especially if you have a high powered blender. However, I think it does make the sauce slightly smoother, so do whatever feels right :)
2. Blend the peppers, the passion fruit juice, olive oil, lime, and salt until smooth.
3. Mix in the chopped cilantro.
Makes about 14 tostones
2 green plantains
Optional: Smoked paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
1.Peel and cut the plantains into 7 around 1 inch chunks.²
2. Place the plantain chunks in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for around 10 minutes or until fork tender.
3. Remove one tender plantain chunk at a time from the water. Using the back of spatula or the bottom of the cup, press down on the plantain until flattened. Make sure to leave the rest of the pieces in the water until you need to smash them. Otherwise, the plantains will dry out and fall apart when you attempt to flatten them.
4. Heat up enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a flat skillet on medium high heat. Pan-fry the plantains for 2-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.
² The recipe I adapted this from recommended boiling the plantains whole for 25-30 minutes then slicing into circles once tender. This method probably works better for keeping each plantain piece intact while smushing, so once again, do whatever feels right!
5. Apply a generous amount of salt while the plantains are still hot. I added a little black pepper and smoked paprika for some extra flavor, but feel free to go wild with the seasoning! If you mix smoked paprika, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder and salt, it’ll resemble BBQ chip seasoning, which I imagine would taste great on the plantains!
6. Serve with the passion fruit hot sauce to dip and get ready for a flavor explosion!