Cooking Class: Vibrant Homemade Sriracha
The hot red sauce from the green-topped bottle now squeezed on everything from Thai noodles to tacos to burgers is the breakout condiment star of the last 10 years. Sriracha as we know it is a California-made, amped-up version of a sweet, semitranslucent, slightly viscous chile sauce from the coastal town of Si Racha, Thailand. It's the knife-edge balance of sweet and heat that makes it so versatile. Predictably, various American artisans are now getting into the small-batch production game, as well. With so much product available, you might wonder why it's worth the bother to make at home. Answer: It's quick, it's easy, and it tastes amazingly fresh—the essence of bright chile heat softened by the perfect amount of sweetness and tang.
Ingredient & Why
2 cups red chiles, such as Fresno, serrano, and/or jalapeño, in any ratio, split and seeded (about 8 ounces whole) — It's a chile sauce.
½ cup garlic cloves (about 10 peeled) — We're nodding to both iterations of Sriracha, and they both have garlic. Without the garlic, it's just another hot sauce.
3 tablespoons sugar — The sweetness is a signature of both Srirachas. Oddly, the U.S. version is actually less sugar-forward than the original Thai sauce.
¾ teaspoon salt — To balance. This is a sauce for savories.
¼ cup white vinegar — The acid is what ties all of these flavors together. White vinegar provides straightforward, midtone, neutral acid. We want to highlight the chiles. This does that.
¼ cup hot water — Because we need more liquid to blend things up, and a half-cup of vinegar would make the sauce too strong.
Also try our Fiery Hot Green "Sriracha" variation.
Keith Schroeder, chef, culinary educator, and entrepreneur, has led kitchens at resorts, restaurants, catering companies, and luxury hotels throughout the nation. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta and Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University, Schroeder is the founder and CEO of High Road Craft Ice Cream and Sorbet, sold in retail venues such as Whole Foods Market and served by fine restaurants, hotels, and airlines. He currently writes Cooking Light magazine's "Cooking Class" column and actively lectures and teaches others his culinary secrets. Schroeder lives near Atlanta, GA, with his wife and two children. Connect with Keith Schroeder via Facebook and Twitter.