Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hot Sauce 101: Sriracha (El Gallo Fantasmo)

For the inaugural edition of Hot Sauce 101 I'll talk about one of my favorite hot sauces of all time, sriracha.

Born in Thailand, this bright red sauce has somehow become the hot new thing, supplanting bacon as the trendy thing to add from everything to potato chips to ice cream. Traditional sriracha (invented in Sri Racha, of course) is much sweeter and runnier than the Huy Fong version people in the US are accustomed to.

That being said, I'm a huge fan of the Americanized version, which is hotter, more garlicky, and overall denser flavor-wise. The only complaint I have, is the heat. I've been in search for a commercially produced version that ratchets the heat level up to 11, but so far I've only found one producer, and they only make the 'extra hot' version a couple of times a year.

Thankfully, making it isn't that hard.

1. Get some chilis (and garlic!):

In this case, a mix of fresno and Trinidad Moruga scorpion peppers, with a few dried ghost peppers for good measure.

2. Chop the chilis and garlic:

3. Add some sugar and ferment it

The lacto-fermentation is what adds a lot of the complexity and acidity.

4. Wait...

5. Blend it, strain it, and add more vinegar and sugar:

Many recipes call to boil it, but I chose to preserve the probiotic/preservative qualities of the lactobacilli cultures (there's probably pedio in there too, but I don't feel like culturing it).

6. Bottle and Enjoy!

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