Move over, ketchup! There’s a new favorite condiment in town and it’s hot. Even Tabasco sauce is being replaced on many restaurant and home tables. It’s Sriracha! And I find myself using it more than I have any other hot sauce.
Sriracha is a chili sauce from Thailand. There are many brands of this sauce but the one most popular in this country is the Rooster brand sauce made by Huy Fong Foods. The company’s story is interesting, an immigrant success story about a man who wanted a Sriracha like what he had back in Thailand. David Tran chose a rooster to represent the product, which is the best-known brand in America. Sometimes people call it the Rooster sauce, but there is no fowl in the concoction.
What Is It?
Sriracha (Sir-AH-cha) is a common sauce found in many cuisines in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Vietnam. It is a chili sauce made with capsicum chili peppers, a different species from the familiar bell pepper. We also might call them hot peppers because they are very hot. A paste of mashed peppers is mixed with vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. From there one can follow many different variations, some passed down through family generations. In Thailand, it is used primarily as a dipping sauce. In Vietnam, it is used more as a seasoning.
The origins of sriracha are buried deep in the murky past of Siam, or Burma. It is said that the sauce was invented by a lady in the Thai town of Si Racha, thus the name.
Huy Fong Foods’ “Rooster” sauce adds an American spin on the traditional Thai recipe Tran grew up with. He made it a little sweeter with a ketchup-like consistency. The secret is a mix of red jalapeno chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. It is simple and pure, with no water or artificial colors, and has a depth of flavor to match its unmistakable heat. The plastic squeeze bottle is ideal for adding just a few drops or a big squirt. There have been reports of people becoming addicted to the sauce, put it on just about everything.
Scientists say the craving for spicy food may be a result of the hormones the spicy food causes to be released in our bodies which may affect our brain pleasure centers. Humans have used hot peppers and spicy foods for thousands of years, often as a medicine for treating pain. Whatever, if you avoid spicy food because you’re not sure your stomach can handle it, give a touch of Sriracha to your next meal. I started out just adding a few drops to my eggs. Now I pour it like ketchup.