Have you heard about the looming sriracha apocalypse?
Don’t worry. When the store shelves are empty and there are riots in the streets, you’ll be in your home without a care in the world. Because you will have an emergency sriracha stash, made with your own two hands.
Sriracha really is having its moment right now. Many restaurants these days have a bottle of it on dining tables, right alongside the ketchup and mustard. It’s a spicy condiment that originated in Thailand, and made it to the United States in the 1970’s.
Sriracha is not for the faint of heart. It’s hot, hot, hot. But it’s also yum, yum, yum. There are so many interesting ways to use it. Add it to fried rice, have a little with your scrambled eggs, or mix a little into mayonnaise or cream cheese to add an extra layer of flavor. If you’re looking for ideas on tasty ways to be creative with sriracha, may I suggest that you pick yourself up a copy of The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes That Pack a Punch, by Randy Clemens. Sriracha butter? Check. Devilishly hot deviled eggs? Check. Peach-Sriracha sorbet? Check.
My very favorite so far? Bacon-Sriracha cornbread. Whoa. I’m obsessed. If it sounds good to you, here’s the recipe and step-by-step instructions.
Make it. Make it right now.
Now… if you want to make Bacon-Srirach cornbread, you have to have sriracha on hand. If you aren’t interested in making your own, you can always substitute your favorite commercial brand in any of Clemens’ recipes. But, with or without a sriracha apocalypse, I encourage you to try your hand at the following D.I.Y. version. It’s also from Clemens book, and is so simple you won’t believe it.
Quick warning: although the recipe is really easy, it does require a little advance planning and patience. The peppers, blended with the rest of the ingredients, sit at room temperature for 7 days to allow for fermentation and flavor development. Although you can find lots of recipes online that skip this fermentation step, I think it’s worth the time to let the mixture rest. However, if you just can’t wait, I also like this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. If you’re looking for instant gratification, give that one a whirl.
But if you have the time to wait for the fermentation, follow Clemens’ recipe. It’s the closest I’ve tried to the flavor of the most popular commercial version. (Note: this is not a sponsored post, and there is no affiliate link anywhere. I receive no compensation if you buy Randy Clemens’ book or the sriracha sauce via the Amazon links.)
WARNING WARNING WARNING!!!
Did I get your attention? Good. Because you really need to heed the following words:
Wear gloves when you are working with these peppers!
I’m not kidding.
The peppers won’t burn when you’re holding them, but they’ll leave behind juices that will leave your skin burning for days. I’m serious. DAYS. And if you do something silly like try to take your contact lenses out after handling the peppers with your bare hands, you’ll ruin your contacts AND want to rip your eyeballs out. Trust me. I’ve done that.
So get yourself a cheap pair of rubber gloves at the grocery store, and use them when you’re making the sriracha. Be careful not to touch your face with the gloves while you’re working, because the juices will transfer from the glove to your face, and then you’ll want to rip your face off.
Now that I’ve scared the you-know-what out of you, let me just reassure you that it will all be perfectly fine, as long as you use the gloves.
OK, then. Go make some sriracha.
Slightly adapted from The Sriracha Cookbook, by Randy Clemens
Total Yield: 2 cups
- 1 ¾ pounds red jalapeño or fresno peppers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
- Water, as needed
Note: Look for red jalapeño or fresno peppers at an ethnic supermarket if you have trouble finding them at your local grocery. You can also ask the produce manager at your supermarket if they could order you some. In Indianapolis, the peppers can usually be found at Saraga International Market on the near west side of town.
- Stem the jalapeno peppers, cut in half, and remove the ribs and seeds. (It’s not necessary to remove every single seed, so don’t spend a lot of time on this. And, if you prefer your sriracha bone-crushingly hot, leave all of the seeds and ribs.) Roughly chop the peppers.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peppers, garlic, garlic powder, granulated sugar, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a glass jar, seal, and store at room temperature for 7 days, stirring daily.
- After 1 week, pour the chili mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool, then puree in a food processor for 2 to 3 minutes, until a smooth uniform paste forms. If the mixture is too thick to blend properly, feel free to adjust the consistence with a small amount of water.
- Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Press on the solids with the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much puree as possible.
- Adjust the seasoning and consistency of the final sauce to your taste, adding more vinegar, water, salt, sugar, or garlic powder as necessary. Transfer to a glass jar, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
The recipe in pictures: