If you’re a fan of spicy food, chances are you’ve heard of Sriracha sauce.
This bright red condiment has gained immense popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Made from a blend of red jalapenos, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, Sriracha packs a punch of flavor that can enhance just about any dish.
But what exactly is Sriracha sauce used for?
In this article, we’ll explore the many ways you can incorporate this versatile sauce into your cooking and take your taste buds on a fiery adventure.
So buckle up and get ready to discover the world of Sriracha!
What Is Sriracha Sauce Used For?
Sriracha sauce is a staple in many Asian cuisines, particularly Thai and Vietnamese. It’s commonly used as a dipping sauce for seafood and omelets in Thailand, while in Vietnamese cuisine, it’s used as a condiment for phở and fried noodles, as well as a topping for spring rolls.
But Sriracha’s uses don’t stop there. This spicy sauce can be added to just about any dish to give it a kick of flavor. Here are some of the most popular ways to use Sriracha:
1. Straight: The original use of Sriracha was as a dipping sauce. Squeeze some into a small bowl or squirt it straight from the bottle onto your favorite foods.
2. Sauces: Sriracha’s spicy, tangy flavor pairs wonderfully with creamy dips and sauces. Mix some Sriracha into sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese-based dips for a little kick.
3. Soups/Stews: Sriracha is often served with pho in Vietnamese restaurants, but you can also try adding it to ramen, tomato soup, or gazpacho. Cream-based soups, like chowders, also benefit from Sriracha’s kick.
4. Meats/Marinades: Add Sriracha to teriyaki flavored marinades, BBQ sauces, meatballs, meatloaf, or chicken wings. Sriracha and meat were made for each other.
5. Eggs/Cheese: Anything creamy, including cheese and egg yolks, balances perfectly with the spicy, tangy flavor of Sriracha. Add Sriracha to macaroni and cheese, cheese dips, cheese balls, or scrambled, fried, or deviled eggs.
6. Drinks: Sriracha sauce adds a new twist to Bloody Marys or regular tomato or vegetable juice.
7. Snacks: Jams, lollipops, and cocktails have all been made using the sauce, and sriracha-flavored potato chips have been marketed.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to using Sriracha sauce in your cooking. Whether you’re looking to add some heat to your favorite dish or trying something new and adventurous, this versatile condiment is sure to please your taste buds.
The History Of Sriracha Sauce
The origins of Sriracha sauce can be traced back to Si Racha, a small coastal town in Southeast Thailand. In 1949, a local woman named Thanom Chakkapak began serving a bright, garlicky chili sauce with her meals, which quickly became popular among her family and friends. She decided to bottle and sell it commercially, naming her creation Sriraja Panich. Although it wasn’t quite the hot sauce we know today, it was well on its way.
Sriraja Panich became one of the most popular condiments in Southeast Asia but was not easy to find in America and was expensive to import. In 1980, a Vietnamese immigrant named David Tran decided to start producing his own version of Sriracha in America, opening Huy Fong Foods in Irwindale, California. To this day, Huy Fong Sriracha remains the most popular brand of Sriracha in America.
The recipe for Sriracha sauce was developed more than 80 years ago in Si Racha, a city on Thailand’s east coast. The first commercial variety, Sriraja Panich, was created by Gimsua Timkrajang, Thanom Chakkapak’s great-grandfather. The family recipe launched a commercial sauce brand, which they sold to Thai Therapos Food Products in 1984. Reportedly, the sauce has to age for three months or longer before it hits the market.
Although the original Sriracha sauce is Thai and comes from the seaside city of Si Racha, what Americans know as Sriracha comes from a Vietnamese refugee named David Tran. Huy Fong Sriracha is made entirely from scratch in Los Angeles and has become nearly as legendary as its creator. Its popularity exploded in 2009 when Bon Appetit named it “Best Ingredient of the Year,” and once it became a bona fide phenomenon, imitators soon followed. However, Huy Fong Rooster Sauce remains the most popular Sriracha on the market; its factory produces 3,000 bottles every hour, 24 hours a day, six days a week. That’s about 20 million bottles of Sriracha a year!
The Flavor Profile Of Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha sauce is known for its tangy, sweet flavor with pungent garlic notes and a ketchup-like consistency. It is made from red chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar, which give it its signature taste. The sauce’s heat level can vary depending on the brand, but the most popular Huy Fong variety has a moderate level of spiciness. On the Scoville scale, which measures the level of heat in chiles, Sriracha measures 2,200, making it less spicy than Tabasco sauce but hotter than jalapeno peppers.
Different brands of Sriracha can have slightly different flavor profiles and consistencies. For example, Polar from Thailand is hotter and more vinegary with bolder flavors, while Lee Kum Kee has a grittier and chunkier texture. Siraja Panich is thinner and has a sweet and vinegary flavor than other brands. The Huy Fong variety is thicker and has a strong garlic and sweet flavor.
Despite these differences, all Sriracha sauces share the sauce’s signature red-orange color. It should not be confused with other hot sauces that are thinner and more vinegary, like Tabasco.
In terms of nutritional value, Sriracha sauce is low in calories with no trans fat or saturated fat. A teaspoon contains 5 grams and has no calories with less than 1 percent carbohydrate content. It has 75 mg of sodium, 1 mg of Calcium, and 17 mg of Potassium. Overall, Sriracha sauce is mainly used to add flavor to food rather than being a primary source of nutrition.
Ways To Use Sriracha Sauce In Cooking
Sriracha sauce is a popular ingredient that can add a spicy kick to any dish. Here are some creative ways to use Sriracha in your cooking:
1. Marinades: Mix Sriracha with soy sauce, honey, and garlic to create a flavorful marinade for chicken, pork, or beef.
2. Stir-fry: Add Sriracha to your stir-fry sauce for an extra kick. It pairs well with vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and onions.
3. Salad dressing: Mix Sriracha with olive oil, honey, and lime juice to create a spicy and tangy salad dressing.
4. Tacos: Use Sriracha instead of traditional hot sauce on your tacos for a unique flavor twist.
5. Grilled cheese: Add a dollop of Sriracha to your grilled cheese sandwich for a spicy kick.
6. Burgers: Mix Sriracha into your ground beef before forming into patties for a spicy burger.
7. Popcorn: Drizzle melted butter mixed with Sriracha over popcorn for a spicy snack.
8. Pizza: Add some Sriracha to your pizza sauce for a spicy pizza.
9. Deviled eggs: Mix Sriracha into the yolk mixture for deviled eggs with a kick.
10. Hummus: Add some Sriracha to your homemade hummus for a spicy dip.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on using Sriracha in your cooking. Experiment and have fun with this versatile condiment!
Sriracha Sauce In International Cuisine
Sriracha sauce is not only limited to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, but also makes appearances in other international dishes. In the United States, Sriracha has become a popular condiment for burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. In fact, many fast food chains now offer Sriracha-flavored menu items.
In Korean cuisine, Sriracha is used as a dipping sauce for fried chicken and as a topping for bibimbap, a rice bowl dish. In Chinese cuisine, it’s often used as a condiment for dumplings and stir-fries.
Sriracha has even made its way into Mexican cuisine, where it’s used as a spicy addition to tacos and burritos. Some Mexican-inspired dishes even incorporate Sriracha into their sauces, such as enchilada sauce or salsa.
Health Benefits Of Sriracha Sauce
While Sriracha sauce is primarily known for its spicy and tangy flavor, it also offers some potential health benefits. The capsaicin found in the chili peppers used to make Sriracha sauce has been linked to various health benefits. For instance, research suggests that capsaicin may help treat pain associated with angina and increase patients’ ability to exercise. Additionally, eating chili peppers has been associated with weight loss due to capsaicin’s ability to increase energy expenditure and help the body metabolize fat more quickly.
Sriracha sauce also contains garlic, which may be beneficial for heart health. One study suggests that consuming garlic may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can help people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease. The combination of garlic and capsaicin in Sriracha sauce can also help clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits and dissolve blood clots, leading to better blood circulation.
Moreover, the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals present in chili peppers can help maintain healthy mucous membranes, boost the immune system, and lower inflammation. Some research has even suggested that capsaicin may have anticancer properties and could potentially target cancer-associated signaling pathways and genes.
In addition to these potential health benefits, Sriracha sauce can also act as a decongestant and expectorant, making it a great choice for cold and flu season. Overall, while Sriracha sauce may not be a health food per se, incorporating it into your diet can provide some added health benefits along with its delicious flavor.
How To Make Homemade Sriracha Sauce
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to make your own Sriracha sauce, it’s surprisingly easy! Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Gather your ingredients: chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt, vinegar, and water.
2. Roughly chop the chili peppers and add them to a pot with the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Allow the mixture to cool, then transfer it to a food processor and process until smooth.
4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency of the final sauce by adding additional vinegar, water, salt, granulated sugar, or garlic powder to suit your taste.
6. Transfer the sauce to a glass jar, close the lid tightly, and refrigerate for up to 6 months.
While this recipe is simple and straightforward, you can also try fermenting the peppers for a more complex flavor. Fermenting breaks down the carbohydrates in the peppers and converts them to acid, which mellows the peppers considerably and affects the overall flavor of the sauce. Give both versions a try and see which one you prefer!