Alright, I know I'm a little slow on catching this trend: Sriracha in general has been a crowd favorite since, well, since Huy Fong started producing it in the 80s. As far as hot sauce goes, Sriracha is sort of in a class of it's own. Most hot sauce boasts a strong vinegar flavor, and is limited to savory meals. Sriracha, on the other hand, lists sugar as the second ingredient, lending a touch of sweetness that matches it's spice. In 2010, Bon Appétit magazine named it the Best Ingredient of the Year. But that's only the beginning of this sauce's resume. A squirt of this stuff is good on just about everything (no really, everything: just try searching "Sriracha" on Pinterest). It's spicy, it's savory, it's just a tad bit sweet. Squeeze it over stir-fry, spread it on a burger, try it with eggs. Yup, some people even eat it with chocolate.
Since Sriracha has been the talk of the blog-dom for years, there were about 288,000 recipes to choose from when I finally decided to give it a go in my own kitchen. Most recipes made the same recommendations. I contemplated the differences, and ruled some things out: potassium sorbate? I'll pass. And ruled some in: honey over sugar? Always. I had planned on fermenting the sauce, as many do, and I had planned on cutting out the seeds of the chilies. Both of these things seems like key factors in making "the real deal".
I had planned on it, at least. Then I started chopping the stems off of the peppers. My pile of peppers grew. When I was done, a miniature pepper mountain stood in front of me, yet to be seeded. It took about three seconds. I stared at those peppers. I imagined pulling out the paring knife, getting precise, and chiseling out the piths and seeds one pepper at a time. I imagined their hot oil left on my hands, the oil that doesn't wash off with a single round of soap and water, and then I imagined needing to itch my eye in an hour. (It was a long three seconds). Not a second more passed and I was throwing the entire pepper mountain into the blender--seeds and all. I measured out the other ingredients, and I closed those pepper seeds into the blender. There was no turning back: those seeds were in my hot sauce for better or worse, and that was that.
It whirled into a red goopy mass. I cracked the blender open. It smelled like a Phở restaurant already. I wanted to try it, and I wanted to try it now. Waiting a week for it to ferment? Nah! I was already on a corner-cutting roll, and nothing was going to stop me from having Sriracha on my plate today. I scooped the red paste into a sauce pan and put it over the stove.
When the sauce had thickened and looked perfectly spreadable and dip-able, and pulled it off the heat. I grabbed a spoon. Just the tinniest taste filled my mouth with that familiar Sriracha flavor. And then I hiccuped. I hiccuped again. And again.
Hiccuping is my involuntary reaction to spicy foods, and I mean really spicy foods. Standard Sriracha would never set my hiccups off. Eating a Thai Chili Pepper straight? Yes, that would probably do it. Despite my hiccups, I was pretty pleased with myself, and since the other fridge-raider in the house is always looking for the spiciest everything, I knew that this was just how it was supposed to be. This hot sauce is Hotter Than Your Mama's Sriracha. It's hotter than any Sriracha you'll find in the grocery store, but put it on some eggs or swizzle it with vegetables in your wok and you won't be sorry: this "rooster sauce" stands up for itself with a punch of flavor that's savory and sweet, and yes, hot.
Yields: 12-16 ounces | Total Time: 20 minutes
- 6 ounces red fresno peppers
- 3 ounces jalapeño peppers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or 1/2 teaspoon paleo-friendly fish sauce)
- 1/2 cup water
- Remove the stems from the peppers, half them, and put them in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients.
- Blend on high until a paste forms (the seeds will likely remain whole).
- Use a spatula to scoop the sauce into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, and scoop into bottle. Store in refrigerator.