Homemade Sriracha

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How were your holidays? What did you do? I hope you were surrounded by people you love and like at the same time. Christmas brings a mix of emotions for me, as I would guess it does for many of you, too. Flo (my maternal grandma) was always a huge part of the holidays. She had an attic full of decor that she’d put up like a professional, and Christmas hasn’t quite been the same without her and her house. But the passing of old traditions leaves room for the new, and this year was great. I spent it in Hong Kong with my friends Jackie and Doug, their son, Gavin, and Jackie’s mother, Millie. Jackie and I have known each other as teenagers in Ohio, as adults in New York, and now, as adulter adults on this side of the planet. We went to the beach, cooked Christmas Eve dinner in under two hours, and battled holiday traffic for last-minute victuals. We played at least two dozen games of Heads Up after a lot of champagne. On Christmas Eve, Millie had a hankering for chai butternut squash soup, so we dug out Jackie’s immersion blender and made a big pot of it to drink out of tiny glasses with shards of fried sage. It is five days later, and now it’s me with the hankering for chai butternut squash soup. Someday I’ll put the recipe up with Millie’s permission, but today I want to tell you about something else. Homemade srirachaaaaaah, yeow!

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Why would you make a homemade condiment when you can buy it in a bottle? Well, if you’re asking, I probably can’t convince you. I would have the same retort regarding ketchup, and as my loyalty to Heinz runs deep, I will probably never attempt it at home. But this particular condiment makes an excellent gift (New Year’s? A January birthday? Belated holiday? Present for you from you?) and standing by the stove has become a way of staying warm in our cozy but underheated apartment. Also! The color. Just look at that color! Bright enough to inspire a new name for paint: Sriracha Red? Rooster Orange? Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve tasted bottled sriracha, so this endorsement comes without any current authority on the subject. But I have always had luck with recipes from Food52, and that’s where this version came from after Eda of Edamame Eats entered it in a Food52 contest for Best Chili Pepper Recipe. Eda’s rendition calls for palm sugar and red Fresno chilies, but I didn’t have either, so I used brown sugar and Korean red chilies with delicious success. This homemade condiment is a bullseye. Promise.

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Homemade Sriracha adapted from Food52 and Edamame-eats

1/2 pound fresh red chilies (in Korea, you can use the same thin long chilies that are dried and ground for gochugaru)
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Roughly chop chilies and combine them with garlic, sea salt, and white vinegar in a jar. Let sit overnight, or for the equivalent. According to the original recipe, this helps soften the spice of the peppers. Don’t worry, heat lovers, the sauce has plenty of it even after the brine. Put the mixture in a saucepan with the sugar, and heat to boiling. Then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Next, blend in batches until smooth. Finally, pour blended mixture in a sieve and push sauce through to catch all the skins and bits of seed. You’ll be left with a gorgeous and silky, fire-hued, vinegary hot sauce that is the perfect cure to the peak of winter when everything feels a little too colorless and cold.

  • Sonja

    yum!!! what’d you put it on?

    • Jacqui

      Actually, I made it for a gift so I didn’t put it on anything! But, I bet it’d be great on just about any food under the sun, short of sweet desserts.^^

  • Nikoline

    This may be more valuable than you think! There’s been some legal drama with the sriracha plant in CA, and they need to shut down. I haven’t heard any news recently, so there may be updates.

    Glad you got to spend Christmas with lovely people.

    Can’t wait to make some hot sauce!

    • Jacqui

      Wow, sounds seriously odoriferous! I didn’t know about it, but maybe that’s the cause for all the hype for the homemade around the web lately. You’re going to love the recipe, by the way.