I grow lots of tepin chili peppers. They give me a huge bounty! I dehydrate them, cook with them, and make hot sauce. There’s always plenty left to dry and grind up into a powder. Tepin’s are my favorite… and quite interesting too. Here are a few things I learned about them.
Tepin peppers are the only native pepper in the US. They’re native to the US and Northern Mexico. Tepin’s are one of the hottest chile peppers, often compared to Bhut Jolokia (ghost peppers) and Habenero’s Tepin rank around 100,000-250,000 units on the Scoville scale Tepin’s are called the “mother of all peppers,” because it is thought to be the oldest form of the Capsicum annum species. Also known as birds-eye, or bird chile’s The Tepin took the place of Jalapeño as the state, native pepper in Texas.
I also notice that while it feels more natural to call them tepin chili’s, they are more often referred to as “Chili Tepin’s.” Go figure. Other terms are Chiltepin, flea peppers and mosquito peppers. Tepin is apparently an Aztec term… which means “flea.” Chili Tepin’s can easily be confused with Pequin chiles. Pequin’s are oblong with a longer-lasting burn… but milder. Tepin peppers hit you with an intense burn (I can smell it on the nose) but it’s a very short-lived burn. Tepin peppers should be used sparingly… which brings me to my post. I ground them all up and made a hot sauce 🙂
- 5 tbs. minced garlic (I grow a lot of garlic and so I have it pre-minced in a jar in the fridge to use when I need it. You could use 5-6 whole cloves too)
- 1 cup of tepin chili’s. When I made this batch (I used half-dried, and half fresh picked. They were coming in in waves.)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s vinegar with the mother)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbs. sweet (or hot) Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt (I had some smoked sea-salt, so I used that)
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (I used this to thicken it to the consistency of Sriracha sauce)
Add everything into a food processor or blender (except the xanthan gum), and whip it for a few minutes. Now, I should note… I left all my seeds in the sauce, but next time, I plan to strain them out. At this point, you could use a sieve and strain out the seeds if you don’t want them. Whatever you do, do it, and put it back in the food processor.
Mix the xanthan gum into 2.5 tablespoons of water. Mix it real good and make sure there are no clumps.
Now, add the xanthan mixture to the hot sauce in the food processor and mix for another minute or less. Don’t overwork the xanthan gum as it will start to thin out again.
When done, pour into a bowl and let it sit for an hour or two to allow any air in the mixture to escape. Once done, bottle and enjoy. As for storing your hot sauce, most would say to refrigerate it, but I keep mine in the spice cabinet or pantry. I figure, it will be used soon enough anyway. I’ve also destroyed a few bottles of Tabasco sauce by putting it in the fridge. Since then, I’ve always kept it in the pantry too.
If you make some, drop me a line and let me know how yours turns out.
Made this for my husband – he’s from El Salvador and loves these peppers (he calls them “chiltepe”). The raw garlic flavour was too overpowering for his taste, so I used about half as much, and then cooked the sauce slightly after blending, and it turned out beautifully. Also, I had no apple cider vinegar on hand when I made this so I used white vinegar with a splash of balsamic for flavour. Would definitely make this again.
Awesome! Well done!
Kim J says
We have several plants growing wild in our backyard. I’m from Iowa and trying to figure out Texas hill country gardening since we moved here. Thanks for the recipe. I tried to strain the seeds but I was gonna lose all the pulp so I left them in. I bottled a few to give family and friends to try out. May be a little thick for the woozy bottles I used especially refrigerated. Need to experiment some more with the next batch. High hopes! 😀
Awesome Kim. Please share any updates when you can!
Mick, the Aussie says
I tried half of all the ingredients for a first effort, as it uses a lot of my precious ground chilli powered.
Also used Corn Flour instead of xanthan gum and used Himalayan pink rock salt and garlic flakes, the. and put all the dry ingredients in the blender to create a fine powder, before adding the liquids.
I added two mango cheeks for sweet tang.
The apple cider vinegar odour is quite strong, so I’ll use a splash less next time.
It’s a 16/10 sauce for hotness and excites the nostrils.
Hi there! May I ask how else you can cook with them? I bought bags of dried whole tepins and pequins and am not finding many ways to use them, other than making hot sauce. If I toss some into a stew/chili, how many would I use? Or is that not how you do it?
We like spicy so I am not afraid of heat. Any tips you can give are appreciated! I like your site, we have a lot of common interests, so I look forward to a deeper look into your articles. Thanks!!
Hi Marina, yes, in stews and chilis, I’ll toss in a small handful if I want it really spicy. If you like, crush them (dried) in a mortar and pestle to open up the heat. I’ll also dehydrate and grind the peppers to make a powder that can be sprinkled on foods. Use them in canning to add a little spice to whatever you are adding to the jars. Make a sichuan-style noodle dish and leave them whole while you stir-fry them. Look up pickled peppers and substitute your tepins for the peppers for a snack to eat right out of the jar. Hope that helps. Let us know what else you come up with. Google is your friend if you want more ideas!
You can use a Vitamix blender with the dry, grinder container so, the seeds can be pulverized. No need to strain. We dried ours out in the smoker. Fabulous smell to the peppers! Making the hot sauce after I type this!!
That’s true, seeds are usually only strained out for palatability. If you can beat them to oblivion, no probs, and it’ll be hotter sauce too! Oh I yearn to have one of these Vitamix units one day!