2 lbs hot peppers (I used habanero, serrano, cayenne, and some hot cherry peppers this time)
6 tablespoons pickling salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups vinegar
Destem the peppers (please be careful, you can get skin burns). Puree the peppers, sugar, garlic, paprika, and salt with 1 cup of vinegar. Add it all to a non-reactive pot (like stainless steel or an enameled pot). Add the other vinegar. You want just enough vinegar to make a “mash”, but not enough to have standing liquid.
Cook at just above a simmer for 1 hour. Ladle into jelly jars and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
The Story of our Madoudou Witch Sauce
We made our “madoudou witch sauce” recently with the abundance of hot peppers we’ve been blessed with this year and wanted to tell a bit of the story behind it. If you google “madoudou” you will find many links to Ma Doudou and St. Martin/Maarten, a Caribbean island, which is indeed where the story begins.
We spent a week and a half in St. Martin this past April after visiting via cruise ship three or so years ago. Ma Doudou is a local woman who makes a large variety of flavored rums (great in their own right), some other little things, and a couple of hot sauces. Her wares are now available at many tourist locations on both sides of the island (St. Martin/Maarteen is half French/half Dutch). Being folks on vacation and interested in local “stuff”, we wanted to see the actual little shack where the original Ma Doudou products are made and sold out of an old woman’s home/store. We had printed out some information before leaving home and asked people and got further directions on how to find the place in Cul-de-Sac. We were assured there were signs about where to turn (roads are not as clearly labeled in some countries as they are in the U.S.; and some “roads” look more like trails or driveways).
We discovered a large part of the island that day as we certainly saw no signs and the road we thought was correct seemed much like a driveway with lots of second-home-looking condos and villas, even though we drove down it for some distance before turning around. Long story shorter, after spending an hour (St. Martin is not that big!) and seeing parts of the island that were not on our itinerary (dirt roads, roads that suddenly ended at the ocean, mountainous roads), we decided that the long “driveway” had to have been the right road and we just didn’t travel down it far enough. So we headed down the driveway-road again. At the end of the “road”, after going past many developments with code-protected gates, we came to the last code-protected gate that led into a condo development. There, on the keypad, hung a small (7″x4″) hand-made sign that we decided to investigate. It said “For Ma Doudou store, press xxxx.” We had found it!
The young French woman staffing the store and tending to the rums was delightful and we sampled several rums. We looked at the hot sauces and she told us, in French-style English, that they were “very hot – too hot for her.” Of course, we bought a bottle of it with its red sauce and all the pepper seeds clearly visible. A few bottles of flavored rum found a new home that day as well…
As we left the store and headed back to Mount Vernon and Orient Beach, we saw signs posted for Ma Doudou *everywhere*. Granted, small, hand painted signs, but lots of them. How could we have missed them all?
In order to justify all this oddness, we made up a story: We believe that Ma Doudou is in fact a 200-year-old witch who has transformed herself into a 20-something attractive French woman and she shields her sacred place that she refused to sell to developers (which is why it’s in the middle of a condo resort) from all except those who have the perseverance to find it, after which the signs are everywhere to remind those who are worthy to not forget her.
Our Madoudou Witch Sauce is a tribute to the old French West Indies witch (don’t forget, we made that part up) the locals refer to as an endearing Creole patois term meaning “My Darling.” And the hot sauce we picked up back in April is indeed hot, but not too hot for us :)