Bajan hot pepper sauce is served with everything in Barbados. Recipes and preferences vary and like Bajan Seasoning each cook or family has their own “secret” recipe.
Bajan hot pepper sauce is of a thick consistency with a bright yellow colour that is flecked with pieces of red Barbados Bonney hot peppers. At first taste you get a strong mustard flavour, then suddenly after 3-4 seconds, the powerful heat level kicks in. It’s an excellent combination of heat and flavour. It’s a real hit.
Today most Bajan’s buy ready made hot pepper sauce. One of the first commercial manufactures of Bajan Hot Pepper sauce was LG Miller & Sons Import and Export Ltd. under the Windmill Products label. This family business started in 1965 with a home-made hot sauce recipe and soon they were producing thirty gallons of sauce a week. Nowadays, their capacity exceeds 2,000 gallons per week!
Today Windmill has many local competitors such as Aunt May’s, Delish, ÉCAF, Lottie’s…
If you cannot readily get any of the above, here is Errol Barrow’s Bajan hot pepper sauce recipe.
Errol Walton Barrow was the first Prime Minister of Barbados from 1961-76 and again from 1986 until his death in 1987. In addition to a serving in the RAF in WWII as a Navigation Officer and being an accomplished barrister Errol Barrow was also an accomplished cook, who co-wrote “Privilege: Cooking in the Caribbean” with his good friend from Trinidad Dr. Kendal Lee, a Chinese dentist. He noted: “Pepper sauce recipes can be adjusted to suit individual tastes: green papaya, green mango may also be used.”
- 6 large bonney peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 small cloves garlic
- tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup water
- Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and boil for about 15 minutes. Adjust the consistency with water. Puree in a food processor or blender and bottle in sterilised bottles.
Thelma’s Bajan pepper sauce recipe is composed of turmeric for colour, chillies for heat, onions for consistency, vinegar thins it out and preserves it, mustard gives it an extra bass note and helps with the consistency too and a little brown sugar balances it.
- 225g hot scotch bonnet peppers, stems removed
- 225g peeled onions, coarsely chopped
- 110g peeled turmeric, diced
- 4 tbsp American style or mild mustard (prepared not powder)
- 240ml white flavourless vinegar, spirit vinegar would be ideal (again, available in Chinese shops but a flavourless white vinegar will do, just don’t use malt vinegar)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
Put the turmeric in a food processor or blender and process until almost smooth. Add a little vinegar to help it along if you need to. Add the onions, and process until finely chopped. Add the chillies, repeat. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and then add the vinegar, sugar and mustard. You want to keep it a little coarse.
Taste and if too hot, reduce the heat by adding vinegar with some mustard to offset it. Bit by bit, tasting as you go. Store in sterilised jars or bottles. It will keep out the fridge as the vinegar acts as a preservative.
Privilege: Cooking in the Caribbean, by Errol W. Barrow & Kendal A. Lee is published by Macmillan Caribbean, 1988. It is a very special kind of cookery book. It was written by two West Indians from different islands, from different ethnic origins, different fields of work and different backgrounds. The great interest they both shared was their love of cooking and this also contributed to the friendship they shared.
Errol W. Barrow was a Barbadian, who in the course of a distinguished political career was first Prime Minister of Barbados from 1961 to 1976 and fourth Prime Minister from 1986 to his death in 1987. From 1940 -1947 Errol Barrow served in the RAF. During the war he was a Navigator with 88 Squadron supporting the Allied ground forces, bombing German communication infrastructure positions and airfields. Post war he served with BAFO Communications Squadron, where he was the personal navigator to the Commander-in-Chief and Military Governor of the British Occupation Zone in Germany, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir William Sholto Douglas. For further information on Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF see: Errol Barrow – Statesman, Prime Minister of Barbados, RAF Navigator World War II and The Beautiful Blonde in the Bank by his pilot in 88 Squadron and BAFO Communications Squadron F/L Andrew Leslie Cole AFC RAF.
Doctor Kendal A. Lee was a Trinidadian and a dentist. Sadly, Kendal Lee died only a few weeks after Errol Barrow in 1987.
This book stands as a legacy of their wish to share their love of the rich diversity of good recipes from the Caribbean with others.