Sriracha: As American as Apple Pie

You can always depend on Sriracha – the beloved green top hot sauce with the rooster on the front, to satisfy your spice craving. It always hits the spot, and in my opinion, far better than tabasco. Once found only in the pantries of Asian immigrants, our hot Rooster friend now graces the supermarket aisles of Shaw’s, Hannaford and even Walmart all the way up in Maine. The minute I saw Emeril whip out a bottle, I knew that was it, the hot sauce Asians wanted to keep for themselves has now gone mainstream.

Though it is often called the “Thai” hot sauce, Sriracha is as American as apple pie. The only thing Thai about it is its name, which it shares with the seaside city of Sri Racha in the Chonburi province of Thailand. I just discovered it wasn’t Thai on a recent trip to Thailand when I requested it. The waitress gave me an odd look when I asked for “Sriracha;” she had no clue what I was talking about. I finally just said “hot sauce” and she brought me a bottle with an orange colored¬† sauce that could not even be compared to my beloved Rooster. I just always assumed it was Thai because of the name.

I finally found out the story behind the non-Thai Sriracha hot sauce when I read a story about it in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/dining/20united.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=sriracha&st=cse

In this article by John T. Edge, I discovered Sriracha was created not by someone Thai, but by David Tran, a man of Chinese decent born in Vietnam. Sriracha was not created in Vietnam either, its birthplace is Los Angeles. Go figure. Though created for the wave of Asian immigrants entering the States in the 80s, it has now found a place in many non-Asian kitchens and restaurants.

What’s so great about Sriracha is its verstility. It can make anything better, if you like the heat of course. Add to tomato sauce, mayo for spicy mayo or ketchup. It’s wonderful on eggs, and a burger just tastes for lifeless without it.¬† My pantry will definitely never be without it.

Here’s a great recipe with Sriracha:

Fire Wings

What you need:

2 lbs. chicken wings

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup thin soy sauce (preferably Healthy Boy)

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup Sriracha

Salt

Pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

The how to:

1.) Season wings with salt and pepper and let sit for at least an hour.

2.) In a saucepan on medium heat add sugar, vinegar, garlic and soy sauce. Stir continously until sugar has dissolved.

3.) Add Sriracha and allow to reduce for 15 minutes.

4.) Fill large pot half way with vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees.

5.) Fry wings 3-4 at a time for 8-10 mintues.

6.) Toss fully cooked wings in hot sauce. Add more Sriracha at this point if you want the spice level higher.

Enjoy with as is or with blue cheede dressing.