The hotness of the sauce will depend on the type of chillies used and how strong they are. Generally, the larger the chilli, the milder it is.
Up until recently, the Red Savina Habanero chilli was the hottest type of chilli pepper in the world but this has now been overtaken in the hotness rankings by the Bhut Jolokia pepper, an incredibly hot specimen, cultivated at the New Mexico State University.
Capsaicin is a chemical that occurs naturally in chilli peppers together with other compounds that fall under the general term of capsaicinoids. These chemical compounds are responsible for the heat in chilli peppers, and the ratio of the various compounds determines the strength of the heat.
Capsaicinoids are fat soluble, which means that when consumed with a "fat", the fat sticks to the active ingredient within the chilli that produces the heat, lessening its effectiveness to burn. Therefore, if a chilli or chilli sauce is too "hot", foods such as milk or yoghurt are most effective in combating the burning sensation, whereas water is of no use whatsoever.
There are numerous recipes for chilli sauce that use different ingredients and methods to prepare it, depending on the origin of the recipe. Sauces can be made with fresh or dried chillies, by mixing ingredients together or by boiling them down to form a sauce.
The most common ingredients found in a chilli sauce are red chillies, vinegar, salt and sugar, but other ingredients may include tomatoes, onions, oil, ginger
As we become more adventurous and experimental with our cooking, variations such as Thai sweet chilli sauce and chocolate chilli sauce are also finding their way into our dishes and proving to be just as popular.
Below are just a few of our favourite recipes for chilli sauce and some of its variations.