My affair with the flaming hot Habaneros, began with Domino’s chicken wings drizzled with a sauce of our choice (no, this isn’t a paid post…I am only being honest with my story here!!). Since we aren’t the ranch or blue cheese on chicken wings people, and because S doesn’t prefer the predominantly smoky sweet flavors of the BBQ sauce all the time, we had settled for the Mango Habanero sauce for a change. This was a few years back. The sauce looked orange-y and attractive. And then I knew it had mango! Any smooth orange sauce those days to me seemed more Thai and somewhat sweet. Don’t ask me why. I had managed to happily live with that thought for quite long (and I now know, what a misconception that was!!). I have fair reminiscence of my burning hot taste buds the first time, I had (very unknowingly) smothered some good amount of that sauce on my tongue! Habanero was anonymous to me that time, and I was still trying ways to pronounce “Halla-Pae-Nyo”, while spelling it as “jalapeño“. Till then, I hadn’t come across anything in the US that was even remotely as hot as our good old Indian old chillies. So it was a great grand “heated” myth buster moment if you will. An eye opener…errr…a watery eye-opener for me!!!
Took me many sips of cold water and some quick gulping down of dessert bites in succession for my tongue to cool down. The next time, we ordered it (how could I’ve let a sauce scare me?), I carefully stole a little lick of the sauce off my finger. Habanero screamed out to my tongue, “am I too hot to handle?” No! It wasn’t as bad this time. The mango and the sugars provided quite the comforting cheer. And doesn’t this phenomenal combination of flavors sound addictive? It indeed was.
I was quick to look into the label for the ingredients and noticed additives/preservatives that I’d rather do without in my foods. I had some of what I read on the list available in my pantry and cooked up the stormy sauce, sans the preservatives. S called it a bomb and we slathered it on almost everything and ate. More than half of it was gone before we realized. Dang! It was very addictive to say the least. This sauce tastes different than the one they serve at Domino’s and yet, equally great, if not more. It’s easy to make, but involves no fancy elements. The trick that worked for me was not to overwhelm my palate with too much of the sauce together…although I was joshed by our friends and S, who found the taste enticing and interesting, and not half as hot as I’d described to them! No one took their ties off, unbuttoned their shirt or ran teary eyed with tongues sticking out!! On the contrary, one decent bowlful of the hot sauce was gone in a couple hundred seconds. I know, I know. I confess my legendary low levels of heat tolerance.
The sauce gets along phenomenally with all fried foods, especially with shrimps, fish, seafood and grilled meat, in sandwiches, burgers, tacos, wraps and rolls…everything that I can think of. Because of the kind of ingredients used, the sauce could be very well used to coat the vegetables or meat prior to grilling. It’s a very versatile condiment and forgiving too. You may easily manipulate it to suit your taste and play with the levels of heat and sweetness.
Do I wear gloves while handling Habanero? No, I don’t. We Indians are natural with chillies and can handle all kinds of chillies with a brave-heart. We also don’t need to be reminded to not touch our eyes or lick those fingers laced with heat. What say?
Try this intensely flavored and inviting, Caribbean style Mango Habanero hot sauce and you wouldn’t look back at your bottle of sriracha for as long as this sauce lasts. The sauce adds so much more punch to the foods and is quite the show-stopper at the appetizer/snack tables in parties.
Yields a little more than 1 US cup of sauce (about 12 fl.oz or 350 gm)
- 2 US cups or about 320 gm of frozen or fresh mango, cut in chunks or cubes (I use frozen mango pieces)
- 1 habanero pepper, chopped
- 1/4 US cup (40 gms or 1.3 oz) onions, chopped
- 1 fat garlic clove, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp red chilly flakes
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- About 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Apple juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- About 2 tbsp sugar
- About 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- About 1/2 cup (4 fl.oz or 120 ml) water
- In a pan, add the mangoes, chopped habanero, chopped onions, red chilly flakes and about 1/2 cup water. Cover cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Open the lid, stir and mix. Cover cook on low-medium heat for approximately another 10 minutes, till the pan contents are cooked and mushy. Add a few sprinkles of water if the sauce gets too dry or starts sticking to the pan. Take the pan off stove top.
- In a blender, add vinegar, salt, apple juice, honey, sugar and the lime juice. Now transfer the pan contents into the blender. Blend at low speed till the sauce is almost smooth and particulate. Test for salt, sugar and heat…adjust taste if required (read notes below).
- Refrigerate or can in jars. Serve as a dipping sauce with all kinds of appetizers, starters or snacks. Or smother your sandwiches, rolls, wraps, burgers or tacos with it. Or use as a grilling or barbecue marinade or rubbing sauce. Or pack in a small jar, label and tie a ribbon around to give away to friends and family — it makes a great loving gift. You’d love doing them all with this versatile mango habanero hot sauce!
- Reduce heat by removing habanero seeds before using it in the recipe. Also, consider skipping the chilly flakes and using more vinegar and apple juice to tamper heat. Similarly, you could also regulate the sweetness levels by adjusting the amount of honey and sugars.
- Since here, I don’t always get mangoes that are naturally very sweet, I depend more on frozen mangoes for this recipe. However, if you are using fresh mango chunks, adjust the amount of added sugar accordingly.
- To dilute the sauce, use a little water and mix. Test taste for salt and sugar proportions before serving.
- Double or triple the recipe suggested for a larger batch of the sauce.
This sauce keeps excellently for about 7 to 10 days when refrigerated in a clean and dry air-tight container. You may portion and freeze for later use. Alternatively, make a large batch and follow proper canning instructions to can in jars for a prolonged storage for up to a couple months (refrigerate after you open the jars).