Saucy and sweet with the perfect amount of heat- Crespo Sinaloa Sauce!
Mangoes are one of the biggest agricultural products from Mexico. In the U.S., mango consumption begins to peak in spring and explodes in the summertime, which coincides with the peak production of mangoes from Mexico. America’s massive mango demand makes them one of the most important products in Mexico. Mexico is also the worlds largest exporter of chili peppers. The idea to merry these two Mexican staples in a beautiful silky sauce was always meant to be. Crespo Sinaloa Sauce was born from connection (a staple in the doings of El Grupo Crespo) and the family’s hometown of El Rosario where you’ll find Empaque Don Jorge I , the first of El Grupo Crespo’s proprietary packinghouses and largest hydrothermal mango packhouse in Latin American (home of Crespo Organic Mangoes). It’s also located in one of the most important habanero production zones. Habaneros were also one of the first crops and exports for El Grupo early on, originally a chili pepper business started in 1960 for the local market. Crespo, Ataulfos and Habanero’s were always meant to be together.
Chilies are one of Mexico’s heritage crops and habaneros are the chili of choice when it comes to our signature sauce. Hailing from the Yucatan area originally and making their way all over Mexico for agricultural production, including El Rosario, these hot peppers are known for their heat. Not only do they produce a lot of heat-registering between 200,000-300,000 on the Scoville scale, they have a definitive tropical taste to them, unlike any other chili pepper. They have a slightly sweet fruity flavor and a gentle smokiness. The pair incredibly well with sweet items and one of the biggest mistakes cooks make in using these orange hued hotties is not pairing them with sweetness. Every growing region produces a different amount of heat in habaneros and the region around El Rosario has always been found to create the perfectly balanced habanero with not too much excessive heat, allowing the other tropical fruit and smoke notes to shine through.
Early on in the Crespo Organic Kitchen we knew what most Sinaloa folks knew, “what grows together, goes together,” and thus, the heavy heat and hints of citrus and floral tones in habaneros fell deeply in love with the mango’s succulent and fragrant sweetness and in particular the Ataulfo mango. This luxurious sauce was born in the very first year we began making mango recipes in the Crespo Organic Kitchen and it was a gigantic hit with everyone from the get go.
The Ataulfo mango is perfect for a hot sauce, it’s non-fibrous super silky, buttery consistency, makes the most incredible texture and since it is one of the sweetest of the organic imported mangoes it’s perfect for melding with the habanero flavors. Not only does it take on and quell the heat but it captures and combines the habanero flavors with its inherent sugar-caramel sweetness and signature tinge of spice.
This recipe is easy to make. We’ve been making it in the various Crespo Organic Summer Mango Mania Culinary Classes since the beginning and tasting it out in grocery stores all over the country. Countless mango lovers on both sides of the border have made this sauce a staple all Ataulfo season long and eventually our plans are to bottle it up and sell it, utilizing our crops for more mango products. But rest assured you can make it yourself with ease and a few instructions and if you are like us, you’ll have a bottle in the fridge from this weekend until August when the Ataulfo mangoes move out of season- which is a good run if you ask me.
Ripe to totally ripe is the perfect stage of mango for this recipe. The skin of an Ataulfo wrinkles and turns to a total golden yellow when fully mature. Don’t be afraid of ugly mangoes, the Ataulfo tends to have a lot more skin “ugliness” than the round varieties. And as so many of our loyal Crespo Organic Ataulfo fans know, that ugly, wrinkled stage is the best!
You can use a blender or handheld emulsifier for this recipe; it’s genuinely as easy as throwing a few things together, the hardest part is perhaps charring the habaneros. I typically just put them on a wooden (soaked in water first) or metal skewer and do it over the burner on my gas stove, but you can also use your BBQ, or roast them with the onions and peppers in the oven. Cooking them quells the flavor so I dont recommend using them raw.
A lot of hot sauces, in my opinion, have a heavy hand in the vinegar department; i this recipe we swap out milder champagne vinegar, and supplement with more flavor and substance by adding roasted orange peppers, these counterbalance the heat of the habanero even more while adding more bulk. Kids love this sauce because the heat isn’t overwhelming. I prefer a thicker hot sauce over the vinegary and thin kind. but if you are not a kitchen novice have at playing with the flavors and consistency.
Play with the recipe and experiment with what you like and don’t like; it’s easy to add more vinegar for the punch and you can also substitute white vinegar. You can thin it out by adding more hot water, as well.
I use it this sauce on absolutely everything and eventually I’ll get my hands on some organic ataulfos and make it. Likely you are luckier than me and have access to Ataulfos. Here in southern Missouri they simply don’t exist. Of course I’m going to change that!
Crespo Sinaloa Hot Sauce (Mango Habanero Sauce)
Makes about 2 cups
1 orange bell pepper, cut in half and deseeded
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
a few tablespoons avocado oil or neutral oil
2 habanero peppers, or 3 if you are bold!
2 ripe Ataulfo or yellow mangoes, peeled and chopped
zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (sub regular)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
¼ cup Champagne vinegar (sub white vinegar)
¼ cup hot water
2 teaspoons salt, plus a few pinches
Preheat your oven to 450° F. Toss together the bell pepper, yellow onion, garlic, avocado oil and a few pinches of salt in a glass-baking dish. Place in the preheated oven and bake until there is a little char on the onions and the peppers are totally soft (about 30 – 40 minutes). You can add the habaneros to this baked section if you wish to forgo the charring on the stove top, but I find that charring them on the stove gives better flavor.
To char the habaneros, place 2-3 of them on a wooden skewer and hold over the open flame of your stove top (gas burner only) and rotate until totally charred. Remove stem and seeds carefully after the peppers are charred. I typically cut them in half and scrape the seeds and pith out with the back of a knife. Discard stem, seeds and pith.
In a blender combine the pepper mixture, the habanero flesh, mangoes, lime juice, honey and spices. Give the blender a few whirls to chop up the goods. Add the Champagne vinegar and hot water and blend until totally smooth. Add the salt at the end and blend more, about 2-3 minutes until very smooth.
*Wash hands immediately and thoroughly with hot water and lots of soap after handling hot chili peppers, especially habaneros.