The Heat Is On: The Guyana Pepper Sauce

fresh peppers in the market
fresh peppers in the market

Okay, so you’ve heard it every Summer…someone asking for the hot sauce to spice up their barbeque. Then the deep breaths follow as they begin fanning their lips from the burn, looking for that glass of water, shocked at themselves for tearing up over a small taste of pepper. If you’re the onlooker, you’re probably chuckling on the side. If you’re the brave adventurer, you’re probably only going to laugh later. The best hot sauce makers have experienced this time and again when they’ve served up their concoctions. There are events every year across the country where people get together, research the hottest peppers, and tempt the courageous to try their brews and live to tell about it. But us mere mortals, who will not hunt the world to find the holy grail of hot peppers, might still want to have some fun in our circles. How do we compete with the masters? Well, the Guyana Pepper Sauce is it.

the wiri-wiri
the wiri-wiri

Guyana

The appropriately dubbed "land of many waters" is located on the northeastern tip of South America, just above Brazil. Many people mistake it for a Caribbean island, because of its proximity to Trinidad & Tobago, where the Caribbean Islands end.

Guyana has a beautiful rain forest, and to the credit of the Guyanese, they’ve managed to maintain one of the most pristine jungles in the world. Two-thirds of the country is still untouched and largely unexplored rain forest. With the beautiful Amazon weather, there are lots of opportunities for for solanine nightshades in the genus capsicum to develop ever higher levels of capsaicin. As the expression goes: the hotter the weather, the better the pepper.

Say 'wiri'-what, now?

There are quite a few hot peppers native to the Guyanese lands. Their hotness would vary based on Scoville Heat Units (units used to measure the heat generated by a pepper). One of the best (and most popular in Guyana) to make a traditional pepper sauce is the wiri-wiri. It’s a species of the Capsicum Frutescens like the chili pepper; comparable to the Scotch Bonnet. So how hot is hot exactly when talking about this pepper? Surely you’ve tasted a jalapeño, which measures approximately 2,500 – 10,000 SHUs depending on its maturity or ripeness. Based on Scoville Heat Unit measurement the wiri-wiri is a scorching 150,000 SHUs when mature – a whopping 15 times hotter than the ripest jalapeño. Now is it the hottest pepper in the world – no. We leave that to peppers like the Bhut Jolokia from India, measuring in levels of 1,000,000+ SHUs. Why? Because we aim to make a flavorful pepper sauce and not pepper spray. Though I must say I've seen amazing things done with the ghost chilli to rave reviews. Now with the wiri-wiri you will feel the heat, taste the flavor, and still live to tell the tale. So if you’re looking to climb to the top of the backyard barbeque throne with a home-made pepper sauce to rival the pit masters, the wiri-wiri pepper in a good Guyana pepper sauce may be just what you’re looking for.

The Ingredients

· wiri-wiri peppers (1 cup, 8 oz.)

· 1 Onion
· 1 Clove of Garlic
· ¼ large Ginger Root
· ½ cup/4oz. of Honey Mustard
· 1 tablespoon of Vinegar (preservative)

The Sauce

Step 1: Wash the peppers and remove the stems. Peel and wash the onions and garlic cloves. Remember to peel the ginger root as well.

Step 2: Place all ingredients in a food chopper and then add the honey mustard with approximately one to two tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Cover and blend. This can make approximately 2 cups of pepper sauce. The honey mustard can be improvised to your taste. The vinegar acts as a preservative.

Step 3: Place in a container. A glass jar is most likely the best storage for this pepper sauce and for lasting freshness keep in the refrigerator when complete.

Note: you don't need a super-expensive food processor to do this. My favourite is the mini prep plus because it packs a pretty heavy punch. Having burned through multiple choppers this one finally made the cut, has held up for 3 years, & is still going like new. But any little chopper that holds approximately 16 ounces should do the trick in one easy step.

Guyana Pepper Sauce
Guyana Pepper Sauce | Source

Yes, it comes in mild...slightly.

The secret to any pepper’s heat is in the seed (or rather the pith surrounding it). To make a milder version of this pepper sauce, simply remove the seeds before blending with the rest of the ingredients ingredients. Be careful, though: because the wiri-wiri is 15 times hotter than a jalapeño, removing the seeds will not tame the pepper. Removing the seeds only makes it slightly milder than its full 150,000 SHUs. So choosing to inflict this little pepper on your dinner guests might just be a case of ‘go hot or go home’.

One last tip: water is not enough to cool the tongue after eating this pepper. Milk (100% whole milk, not skim or light) will become the nectar of the gods if you need to ease the burn quickly and effectively. Have fun and good luck.

© 2011 Guyana Masala

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Comments 32 comments

pepper-lover 5 years ago

This looks really fun...cool.


zanin profile image

zanin 5 years ago from London, England

My mum always makes pepper sauce - it has a special place in her kitchen! She said that they do this in Guyana so that they do not have to cook with pepper, yet adults can still enjoy pepper on their food. Lovely, unique hub.


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

...thanks. Your mother is absolutely correct about Guyanese and their pepper. This article is actually an ode to my mother (who can't live without her pepper sauce either). LOL


elnavann profile image

elnavann 5 years ago from South Africa

This might be too hot for my taste - but still made very good reading. I did not know there was a Scoville Heat Unit.


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

Oh, these pepper guys are very serious about knowing the kind of damage they're inflicting. LOL They have to measure the pain, you know. But, that's the beauty of the wiri wiri pepper...you can actually live to tell about it. Though I have to tell you I am a fan of version 'mild' myself.


misteralt1 5 years ago

I like the hot stuff. This is a good thing to make.


Alexa Franklin 5 years ago

This article is a reminder of what I miss about my beautiful homeland. It takes me back to the days when I would watch Olga cooking in my grandmother's kitchen. Fresh bread permeating our home was the only way to start the day. Wonderful article. Keep them coming.


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

...this is why I had to also cover the bread. I have the same memories and was so happy when I learned to re-create the magic. Now I have to bake you your own sample. LOL But for the peppers, I hope you don't mind if I only try the mild. This pepper sauce is serious.


Maxime Long 5 years ago

I just came back from Guyana, and I brought back some very hot pepper sauce that my sister made for me in Guyana, I intend to add more onions and peppers and pickles to mild it down a bit.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Wow... very hot Hub. I enjoyed reading it. Now I know what wiri looks like too. :)


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

Lady_E, thank you. I really had to put that one up after feeling the power of the wiri wiri. It was that serious...

Ms. Maxime! Don't be mad if I don't come over & try that before you temper the heat. I know better. LOL


Me 5 years ago

lolzz at those poor suckers who cant take the heat. I'm from Trinidad, and the 7 Pot pepper is WAAAYY more spicy than Wiri Wiri. But yeah, Wiri Wiri's are good peppers to make pepper sauce with =)


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Well I'm happy to find a fellow neighbourhood native of the hot peppers who can enjoy a good sauce. You're right...there are hotter peppers out there, but you know everyone can't stand the heat. But we should still let them hang out in the kitchen. (lol) This is a good way to get the idea though.


SERhjat 4 years ago

benimse nedense hiçbir ?eyden de de de her bir newdense


GT Reader 4 years ago

LOL!!! First I have to say your writing style is excellent. I was captivated into reading the entire article after the first few sentences. Usually I'm scanning for the recipe & ingredients but this had me not just hooked, but laughing too. I will absolutely be trying this one out. Look out backyardigans.


Doctore Evile profile image

Doctore Evile 4 years ago from the Northeast of the U.S.A

Summer is coming & it is on! Time to get this pepper sauce rolling. I can't wait.


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Wow! Ki biz burada bir Türk okuyucusu var m?? Ben tarifi gibi umuyoruz.


Sengupta 4 years ago

This is the best article I've read so far on wiri wiri peppers. The transformed taste of the crushed pepper in the vinegar/garlic based pepper sauce lingers on the taste bud as a gift from heaven.


ameelia 4 years ago

The wri wri pepper is one of my favourites.It's beautiful colours of red and orange are attractive and the flavour is enriching in curries, stews, dhall roti,chowmein, black pudding souse, cookup rice;infact, most savoury dishes.I am always using it and I agree it's very hot but to create a mild heat, just deseed the pepper.I am not bother about the heat,I simply love the unique flavours and the smell it gives off during preparation and cooking ,wonderful!!


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Sengupta, I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe! It's easy to see you're a connoisseur of the hot stuff. You caught the vinegar trick there. It does leave a nice tingle, doesn't it?


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Ameelia, my mother would agree with you whole-heartedly. She swears by this pepper...especially with black pudding and cook up rice! You know your recipes well.


NAO 3 years ago

I am trying to locate seed for the authentic wiri wiri pepper to grow for a friend with a Guyanese husband. Any ideas where? I want to be sure it is the real deal wiri wiri, and so many I have found have been declared "nope, that's not it" by his mother. ;-) Any hints?


FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

First time I've seen this pepper. The wiri-wiri looks like a cherry or a cherry tomato! I like spices and I'm curious to try this. Thanks for posting. Up and interesting. :)


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 22 months ago from New Jersey Author

I know people have been lookong for the wiri-wiri seeds but to the best of my knowledge the fastest way to get them is from the pepper itself. Try harvesting them the next time you find a batch. It's my best option!


chris 22 months ago

My daughter brought me back a coffee jar fresh from the market when she was in Guyana last summer. She said the locals called them cherrie peppers and some of my daughter friends ate the and just about passed out. She said dad would love this. She was so right ot goes great with everything especially wild game meat.


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 22 months ago from New Jersey Author

Chris, this is so true! To save them longer put them in vinegar right in the glass jar then drop them in the fridge. They'll keep for months that way. And the next time you get some try out the pepper sauce and test it on your grillmates. Just make sure you've got lots of milk nearby to offer the poor unsuspecting tasters. LOL


Peppery1 21 months ago

Good info. I just got some of the seed for these peppers in a seed swap. But storing hot pepper sauce in the fridge will lower its heat unpredictably--sometimes just a bit, and I've seen it lower some pepper sauces to no heat at all. If you don't like the heat level, you might store it in the fridge and test it after a day. If you like it hot, just keep it out of the fridge-it will keep fine with the vinegar in it.


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 21 months ago from New Jersey Author

That is also true. I suggest the fridge because these things are so darned hot that a little drop doesn't do a thing to quell the tears of my guests. But if you want that full scorcher feeling, it'll keep just as well on the counter.


Chris 21 months ago

Lol I took the jar out off the fridge opened it put a table spoon in it and said to my son in law not to eat my chillie sauce the went back to the fridge like I forgot something and the dam fool fell for it and took a heaping tablespoon and swallowed it before he got caught

Lol he drank 3litre of milk and cried and sweated for about 3 hours.


Chris 21 months ago

Great advice.


CP 18 months ago

The recipe says "1 ginger" How much ginger is that?


Guyana Masala profile image

Guyana Masala 12 months ago from New Jersey Author

Chris that is hilarious! Poor guy...but LOL!!!

And CP 1 ginger is just one whole piece of finger root. This ingredient is really based on your taste for it. Note: the more ginger the better it seems to help heartburn.

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