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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roasted Pepita Hot Sauce

I am a fan of spicy food, but I'm usually not all that fond of the one-dimensional flavor of hot sauce. I live with someone who puts hot sauce on EVERYthing. I'm always on the lookout for new and unique types of hot sauce for gifts. This year around Christmas I was ordering some beans from Rancho Gordo and decided to add a bottle of Rio Fuego very hot sauce to my order. In all my years of buying hot sauce for David this is the second one that I actually liked. It is made with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) that add a great flavor. One night at dinner I was looking at the bottle and realized there wasn't anything in the ingredients that I didn't already have in my cupboard. So, I went to work on re-creating it in my own kitchen. I'm not going to tell you this sauce is a copy of the Rancho Gordo sauce, because it is not. That doesn't mean it isn't going to make a regular appearance on our table. It definitely has the spirit of the original, that great nutty flavor paired with a lot of heat. What the original doesn't have is the smoky flavor from the chipotle. If you prefer less heat leave out the cayenne and add less chipotle powder. If you aren't so concerned about a smooth liquid hot sauce, you could skip the step of straining out the liquid and use this as a spread. You could also use a canned chipotle pepper instead of the powder which can be hard to find. I probably would have if I had a can available in my kitchen. This sauce is pretty forgiving, so feel free to make it your own, just like I did. Also, you might want to halve the recipe if you don't consume 8 ounces of hot sauce a week like we do here.
Do you have a favorite brand of hot sauce? I'm always on the look out for new and fun ones, leave me link in the comments especially if it is one that is hard to find. Thanks and whatever you do, don't rub your eyes while making this!

Roasted Pepita Hot Sauce
inspired by Rancho Gordo Rio Fuego Very Hot Sauce

2 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
3 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pepitas on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven for about 20 minutes, shaking pan every five minutes or so to prevent burning on one side. Pepitas should be nicely browned, but not burned. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.
Place pepitas and all other ingredients in a large capacity (at least 7 cup) food processor and puree until very smooth. Pour mixture from food processor through a fine mesh sieve. You will need to use the back of a spoon to separate the liquid and press it through the sieve. Bottle the hot sauce, or pour into a lidded container and keep refrigerated for up to one month. Use on everything from burritos to scrambled eggs.


  1. Very glad you posted this, Nicole. This is going to the top of my must-make list. WE're a hot sauce family.

  2. What a neat way to make hot sauce! I love spicy foods too and hot sauce is a favored condiment but like you, I don't like them just...well...HOT. I want some background flavor. This definitely looks like it fits that criteria!

  3. I love spicy everything. On hot sauce that we love isn't always easy to find. It's kind of a cheezy one that usually appears in souvenir shops, but we tried it once and it became our favorite. It's called Texas Champagne, and it's less vinegary than others.

    I love the added pepitas in this one. Can't wait to try it!

  4. This is my favourite:


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