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Huy Fong Foods, makers of the world’s most beloved fiery Sriracha sauce, has been under fire for months now. According to neighbours, the peppery paste that elevates your pho from soup to pho-nom and adds zing to just about everything is a stinky nuisance if you live anywhere near its Irwindale, California factory. And if the odours aren’t contained, the plant will be shut down, or moved elsewhere. So with the future of our favourite hot sauce in jeopardy, we’re not taking any chances. Instead, we’re rolling up our sleeves and crafting our very own batch to avoid any hot sauce-related emergency.

A few notes on recipe development: I’ve adapted this recipes from Randy Clemen’s The Sriracha Cookbook, recommended reading for all serious Sriracha fans (is there any other kind?) I’ve tinkered with the recipe to make it friendlier to Canadian cooks, since the red jalapenos you’ll find in Huy Fong Foods’ version and Clemen’s recipe are difficult to find this far north. I substituted the ubiquitous long, thin, red hot chili peppers available in most grocers, (which can encompass several varietals of similar-tasting, medium-spiced chilies). If you can get your hands on them, Thai chef Pichet Ong of Qi Esarn Thai Kitchen in Brooklyn, NY, suggests adding red Thai bird’s eye chilies, so do consider swapping out a quarter cup of the red hot chili peppers for the Thai ones.

Tools

  • latex gloves
  • food processor or blender
  • cutting board and knife
  • measuring cup OR digital scale
  • glass jar with lid
  • fine mesh strainer
  • spoon
  • pot

Ingredients

  • ½ lb red hot chili peppers (approximately 2 cups, chopped) OR 3 ¾ cups red hot chilies+ ¼ cup Thai chilies)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

Yields: approximately 1 cup Sriracha.

Steps

  1. Wearing gloves to protect your hands, chop the stems off the chilies and weigh out ½ pound on a digital scale (or chop roughly and measure out two cups).
  2. Add chilies, garlic powder, sugar and salt to blender or food processor and whiz to a rough puree.
  3. Optional: Place the mixture in a glass jar and leave it on a dark shelf for three to five days, stirring at least once a day. This will allow the contents to ferment, producing a deeper flavour.
  4. Add vinegar.
  5. On medium heat, bring the sauce to a boil, then quickly reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Puree for two minutes.
  8. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the sauce into a bowl, then spoon neatly into a glass jar.
  9. Keep your Sriracha in the fridge. According to Clemens it lasts up to six months, but it’s doubtful a sauce this tasty can go uneaten so long.

Ultimately this homemade version is not an exact replica of the “rooster sauce” you’ll find on restaurant tables across the continent, but it is pretty tasty and has a fresher, brighter profile than the bottled version. Add more or less garlic, garlic salt and sugar to vary the flavour. Extra vinegar will create a tangier, thinner sauce, while less will make a thicker one.

Sriracha tastes great on most Southeast Asian dishes, but its appeal lies in its versatility, so play around and add it to any dish that could use a delicious, fiery kick.