Fresh, hot peppers of any variety to fill a quart jar
2 tbsp sea salt
4 - 6 cloves of garlic
1 shallot or 1/2 onion
Herbs and spices of your choosing!
Snip the stems from the peppers but leave their green tops intact. (This gives a subtle floral aroma to the finished product.) Using a toothpick or a small knife tip, puncture your peppers in several places. Heat 1 cup of water and dissolve 2 tbsp salt completely. Add 3 cups of cold water to temper the brine to a cool temperature. Pack peppers and garlic into your vessel tightly leaving an inch of headspace from the top. Pour the cooled brine over, covering the peppers completely. Use a weight of some kind to keep everything submerged. Cover jar with an airlock lid or loose-fitting lid and leave the jar in a cool place (out of direct sunlight) for 2 - 6 weeks to ferment.
Drain and reserve the brine. Place peppers and garlic in a food processor and puree. Add 1 tablespoon of brine (if needed) at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Bottle as is or strain the puree with a food mill or a fine-mesh conical sieve to remove seeds & skins to achieve a more pourable consistency for woozy-style bottles. Adjust flavor, if needed, with a splash of vinegar or lime juice. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy within 12 months.
NOTE: If straining using a food mill or sieve, the remaining chili “paste” of skins and seeds can be saved and used in cooking or other fermentation projects. Add it to soups & braises or use in making kimchi. Not only is it a great way to reuse an ingredient, it will help to jumpstart the fermentation of your kimchi.