It’s not just ketchup and mustard anymore, folks. Open up your fridge to… sriracha. Have you hopped on the sriracha train yet? If not, prepare for hot, sweet, garlicy, umami condiment bliss — just in time for Labor Day weekend!
Believe it or not, sriracha hot sauce is an American concoction, created in the ‘80s by David Tran (founder of Huy Fong Foods), to fill the condiment void felt by his fellow Vietnamese-Americans. Since then, sriracha has become a pop-culture and foodie sensation. And why shouldn’t it? It is magical condiment that goes well on virtually anything – pizza, pho, beef, veggies, dumplings, ice cream, sandwiches, and even doughnuts! It has certainly earned its place between ketchup and mustard on America’s condiment shelf.
The most popular, and debatably best, brand is David Tran’s Huy Fong Sriracha, otherwise known as “Rooster” for the bottle’s emblem. And it is very delicious. So delicious, in fact, that people get its visage tattooed on their arms, buy Sriracha holiday ornaments, and dress up as bottles for Halloween. It’s absolute chili madness!
But, popularity aside, if you look at a bottle of “Rooster”, the ingredients list includes a few preservatives and thickeners, which many of us find unnecessary or unwelcome and try to avoid. For Paleo eaters, it makes this sauce off-limits. Unfortunately, living without sriracha may prove difficult once you’ve had a taste. So what do you do? Make your own, of course! Here are 2 fantastic recipes — one nearly instant and Paleo, one that requires patience and fermentation — for homemade sriracha that tastes as good, if not better, than the original.
From Nom Nom Paleo comes the easiest sriracha recipe on the web. True, it may not be authentic to David Tran’s concoction, as there is no fermentation involved. But, with these few ingenious shortcuts, you can have a delicious, deeply complex condiment in the time it takes to unwind after work. It simply requires blending up red jalapeños, garlic, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, honey, fish sauce (one without added sugar), and salt in a blender. Then, cook the mixture in a pan and cool. Easier than pie, but way more versatile… and it’s Paleo-friendly!
If you’re a purist, perhaps you are better off making your sriracha the “right” way. This is the real deal, and it takes a couple of days. If you are into the whole fermenting scene, give this a try, and let that umami flavor develop of its own accord. Once you get the hang of it, you can have fun by trying different peppers, sugars, and garlic preparation, and noticing how they alter the flavor.
These recipes are both relatively simple, free of preservatives and thickeners, and make a few cups of sauce — perfect for Labor Day. Liven up your meals this weekend with the complexity and vivacity of homemade, fresh sriracha. I promise, it’ll make your burgers even tastier.