In the last few years, sriracha sauce has become something of a food lover’s ketchup. Squeeze bottles with the now-familiar rooster on the label can be found in Asian restaurants everywhere, and it’s staked a claim on shelves in supermarkets across the city.
But, other than hot, what is sriracha?
The name, according to Bon Appétit magazine, refers to a Thai town named Si Racha, while the actual words mean something akin to “the glory of our king.”
And what a glory it is when you add it to any dish that needs a little heat, whether it’s Thai noodles, German schnitzel or a breakfast taco.
One squirt and it’s easy to see why this combination of sweet, sour, salty and hot has won so many fans.
That said, I’ve long wanted to play around with the recipe and change a few elements to suit my tastes. One was to cut down on the sugar, which I find excessive under all that heat; another was to add a little zip of ginger.
Where to start? I found a base recipe from a blogger named Amy Kim, who writes under the name Kimchi Mom, and proceeded from there. But I had to make a few adjustments along the way. I couldn’t find red jalapeños, so I substituted red bell peppers and I used a habanero instead. I cut back on the sugar but didn’t eliminate it entirely because it needed some help in getting the fermentation started.
In other words, I used my own ingredients while following Kim’s recipe and produced a sriracha that, to me, is a glory.
You can add your own rooster to your bottles.
Sriracha with Ginger
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut in pieces
1 habanero, seeded or not, to your taste
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (2- to 3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup white vinegar
Place the peppers, garlic, ginger, sugar and salt into a blender or food processor. Pulse until the peppers are finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a clean container with a lid and let sit at room temperature for about 5-7 days to let it ferment.
Check the jar everyday and give it a stir. Bubbles will be forming and the mixture will slightly increase in volume.
Pour the mixture into a blender and add the vinegar. Purée until smooth. Place a strainer over a medium-sized saucepan. Pour the purée into the strainer and strain the mixture into the saucepan using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. You will be left with some of the larger pepper pieces and seeds. (Tester’s note: My strainer was really fine, so I was left with a rich liquid, but nothing as thick as storebought sriracha; it didn’t matter, the flavor is there.)
Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for about 7-10 minutes or until the sauce clings to a wooden spoon. Take the pan off the heat and let the sauce cool.
Pour the sauce into a clean airtight jar or container. Keep the sauce refrigerated and it should keep for more than a month to six months.
Makes about 3 cups.
Adapted from Amy Kim, Kimchi Mom