Condiments, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Lacto-Fermented Cacao Hot Sauce

This hot sauce is reminiscent of mole poblano, a savory Mexican sauce made with cacao, chiles, and other spices. Authentic versions of this tasty sauce include 20+ ingredients and can take hours to put together. This rendition is much simpler. Lacto-fermenting the peppers adds depth of flavor without a lot of effort and after the initial wait for the peppers to ferment, the whole thing comes together in just a few minutes.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants. One study showed eating cacao boosts mood. It may also be beneficial to brain and heart health.

Lacto-fermented peppers are naturally rich in probiotics, which help to boost gut health and and help to lessen the negative health effects of environmental pollutants and other toxins that are present in food.


  • 2 lacto-fermented jalapeños
  • 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp brine
  • 4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder


To make the lacto-fermented peppers—

Cut jalapeños in half and scrape out the seeds. Place the peppers in a small jar. Make a brine by dissolving 2 1/4 teaspoons salt in 1 cup of warm water. Pour over the peppers and weigh them down with a fermentation weight.

To make the hot sauce—

Add the raisins to a bowl or dish and pour a half cup of brine from the lacto-fermented peppers over them. Let soak for 30-45 minutes.

Pour the soaked raisin and brine mixture, plus 2 more tablespoons of brine into a blender. Add the fermented peppers, cacao powder, and spices. Then blend until smooth.

Enjoy this tasty sauce with beans, chicken, pork, enchiladas, and more.

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