Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A New Love: Sriracha

A few years ago I was wandering the aisles of a grocery store and another customer asked me if I knew where the "rooster sauce" was. I had no idea what she was talking about. The then launched into a lengthy explanation of how much she and her 5 year old daughter loved this sauce and put it on everything. It was spicy and full of garlic and it sounded divine. The woman told me how it was usually found in the Asian section of a grocery store and that it had a rooster on it.

Time went by and I forgot about it until one day I spotted some of this mysterious sauce, just as she'd declared, in the Asian section with a rooster on it. The sauce is called "Sriracha" and the brand is Huy Fong. It's an American-made sauce that's based on an old standby from Thailand. It has been the most amazing addition to my culinary arsenal.

Warning: Always Shake the Bottle!!!
It's actually not that spicy, or rather, the spiciness and garlic flavors are pretty well balanced when you first open the bottle. It's critical, however, that you shake the bottle every time prior to squeezing sauce out of it or you'll end up with less garlic and more heat. I actually had to toss out about 1/4 of a bottle once because it got too spicy.

Another Warning: Be Sure You're Getting the Real Thing!
The greatest variant of Sriracha I've found is the Huy Fong version. Sadly, when you have an enviable product, people like to copy it and apparently this holds true for Sriracha. Yes, that's right... along with Chanel, Gucci and two dollar bills, there's a quick market for counterfeit Sriracha out there. Learn about how to get the genuine article here.
What to Eat Sriracha With
I hit the golden ticket the first time I tried the Sriracha - I used it as a condiment for a plain old cheese quesadilla and it was AMAZING. A friend of mine told me it goes great with "sweet" flavors. I wonder if it would be good with mango, and I intend to find out when I try this recipe for Grilled Chicken with a Mango Sriracha Glaze.

I eat boiled eggs with Sriracha a lot too, and it really perks up anything you would normally eat either hot sauce or ketchup with. In fact, it's really easy to combine Sriracha with ketchup and / or mayo / sour cream to create a great dipping sauce.

My love affair with Sriracha is only just beginning and I can already tell this is going to be a lifelong fascination. Please share any thoughts you have about good Sriracha recipes! 

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