We love to talk about ways to keep our microbiome healthy, as it’s foundational to wellness. A balanced microbiome is important internally and externally, so eat your ferments! Our friend and acclaimed chef Angela Dimayuga has a beautiful debut cookbook, Filipinx: Heritage Recipes from the Diaspora and this recipe for lactose fermented hot sauce makes it easy to add ferments to any meal ~
From Angela in Filipinx: Heritage Recipes from the Diaspora ~ "I love the straightforward, bracing smack of a vinegar pickle, but I find that lacto-fermentation yields more layers of flavor. All it requires is salt and time. In this recipe, you dissolve salt in water to make a brine, then submerge a pound of chiles and leave them alone for a while. The beneficial lactic acid bacteria that occur naturally in fruit and vegetables - and that live in your gut, keeping everything on keel and fending off disease - start to break down the sugars in the chiles and transform them into lactic acid, which in turn acts as a preserving agent and lends a thrilling sourness that underscores the heat.
Because no "cooking" is involved, the chiles retain their fruitiness, especially if plucked in summer, when they're at their height. Do add other seasonings as you wish: a strip of white onion, a grated clove of garlic, your favorite spices. I like to use red Fresno chiles for their balance of hot and sweet; they're plump and juicy and have a good ratio of fruit to seeds. But you can substitute mellower or stronger ones. (Thai chiles, if you dare!)"
Combine the chiles, salt and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a container or jar. Instead of covering with a lid, lay a small piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the container, to limit exposure to the air. Using tape, label with a start date, so you can keep track of how long it ferments.
Store in a cool, dark place where the chiles will not be disturbed. Let ferment for 5 to 7 days; the timing will depend on the natural sweetness of the chiles and the temperature of the storage area. As it ferments, the sauce will bubble slightly and turn sour. After the fourth day, stir and taste, then decide whether to let it ferment another day or two. Keep tasting each day until it's as funky as you wish.
When you think it's ready, transfer to a clean bottle or jar and store in your refrigerator. It should be good for up to 3 month - longer than it takes to use it all.