Chances are, if you've eaten at an Asian, Thai, Korean or Vietnamese restaurant this week, you've seen the bottle above. (And squirted it in your soup or dipped an egg roll in it.) It's as big a staple at those places as ketchup at a burger joint.
Huy Fong Foods sells over 10 million bottles of its Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce each year, making it one of the top-selling chili sauces in the U.S. And it's not imported from Asia. It's made by a company based in California run by a Vietnamese immigrant of Chinese descent, David Tran, who created the recipe for the sauce. (He also made and sold the sauce in Vietnam before leaving in 1979 because the new Communist regime was not friendly to Chinese immigrants.
Tran uses red jalapenos for his famous sauce because he likes their meatiness and prefers their flavor. He buys the peppers from a farm in Ventura, Calif., where they are harvested from mid-September till around Thanksgiving. He only makes the sauce during this time because the jalapenos are fresh. Then after adding vinegar and salt to the peppers, it sits on a shelf for six months before blending in the other ingredients.
Huy Fong Foods takes its name from the boat that brought Tran to America, and the Chinese characters that stand for the name are also on the bottle.
And the October 2005 issue of Saveur, in an article by Shoshana Goldberg, gives us 12 Good Things To Do with Sriracha:
- Splash some into your beer or your bloody mary.
- Add it to chopped raw tuna to make spicy tuna sushi rolls.
- Put it on top of cooked eggs. (My favorite.)
- Use it in place of ketchup on hot dogs.
- Sprinkle it on top of pizza instead of red pepper flakes.
- Toss it with some hot buttered popcorn.
- Add it to stir-fry noodles, pho or fried rice.
- Use it in place of Tabasco on hot wings or to marinate chicken.
- For an hors d'oeurvre, squirt a small amount of it on top of smoked whitefish served on a cracker.
- Combine it all with mayonnaise to use as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or as a condiment for sandwiches. (My aside: The mayo/sauce combo would probably be great served with boiled shrimp too.)
- Mix it with black Chinese vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil as a dipping sauce for pot stickers or dumplings (ratio: three parts vinegar to one part soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and sriracha according to your heat tolerance).
- Combine it with salt to make a dip for fresh pineapple.
And after you're through with those suggestions, they have a few recipes for you to try too.