20+ Ways to Use Sriracha (AKA Awesome Sauce)

by Max Wong on 26 March 2013 10 comments
Photo: cookbookman17

Athough it’s a staple at Asian food markets, Sriracha (sometimes called by its street name, "Rooster Sauce") is an all-American product, manufactured in a suburb of Los Angeles.

It is also a masterpiece in the world of condiments. (See also: 16 Cheap, Low-Cal Condiments to Brighten Up Boring Food)

The Sriracha recipe most of us know and love was cooked up in 1980 by David Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who wanted to replicate the flavor of Sriraja Panich, the most popular chili sauce in Thailand, which wasn’t available in the U.S.

(Sriraja Panich was invented in the 1930s by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak, who lived in the port city of Si Racha, Thailand. Sriraja's original purpose was as a condiment for fish, kind of like the Thai version of cocktail sauce).

Luckily for Mr. Tran, Angelinos are adventurous eaters, and they immediately recognized that Sriracha had all sorts of off-label applications. The sauce that began as a just another ingredient in Vietnamese Pho has become ubiquitous because of its versatility.

Sriracha Isn't Your Father's Tabasco

Unlike hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with chili peppers, Sriracha is mainly pureed chili peppers with a little bit of vinegar thrown in to make things interesting. What makes Sriracha magical, however, is the addition of sugar, salt, and garlic, giving it a flavor profile that can slide into just about every cuisine. It’s my secret weapon against bland cooking.

What Can You Do With a Bottle of Sriracha?

In addition to using Sriracha as a substitute for cocktail sauce, I sneak Sriracha into all sorts of dishes. For example, my go-to speedy lunch is a peanut butter and Sriracha sandwich with a glass of milk. How else do I use Siracha? Let me count the ways.

  • Sriracha’s a delicious addition to grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Actually it’s a delicious addition to any sandwich. Also, any soup.
     
  • Because I suffered a childhood foodie trauma involving ketchup, I substitute Sriracha in every dish that calls for ketchup, giving my hot dogs and French fries that special je ne sais quoi.
     
  • To turn tomato juice into a spicy mixer I add Sriracha. My neighbor swears that this Bloody Mary recipe (secret ingredient: Sriracha) really is THE BEST bloody mary recipe.
     
  • Out of my fancy pasta sauce? I just add some Sriracha to canned tomatoes or tomato paste to make my own last minute spicy red sauce for pizza or pasta.
     
  • Want the secret recipe for the spicy mayo that every Sushi restaurant in Los Angeles uses? Sriracha and mayonnaise.
     
  • I personally think that Bob’s Big Boy’s Blue Cheese salad dressing is close to perfection. With Sriracha added? Perfection. Also, why settle for ranch dip when I can have spicy ranch dip? I squirt out a spiral of Sriracha to decorate the top of the dip and let my guests decide on their own ratio of cool and creamy to hot and spicy.
     
  • Why limit Sriracha to my scrambled eggs at breakfast when I can add it to my deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches, too? (See, any sandwich).
     
  • Sriracha makes mac and cheese even more delicious, even the orange kind in the box.
     
  • For fast and easy hot wings I just toss the chicken in some Sriracha before putting the wings on the grill.
     
  • One of my favorite no-waste kitchen hacks is to add a squirt of Sriracha into the dill pickle jar to make spicy pickles. When the pickles are gone I then use the leftover pickle juice to brine my chicken before I fry it. Chick-Fil-A has nothing on this brine.
     
  • My favorite cold and flu treatment is chicken soup with a heavy dollop of Sriracha. See ya later congestion!

Are you a Sriracha lover or a Sriracha hater? If you are on Team Rooster, what’s your favorite Sriracha recipe hack? If you are a Sriracha hater, what is wrong with you?

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Guest's picture
Guest

The cracker jack that bites you back.

http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2013/03/sriracha-caramel-corn-083-recipe...

Made this last night. Awesome.

Max Wong's picture

I'm totally trying out your recipe this weekend! Even with your "candy fail" (which is impossible, candy never fails), this looks amazing.

Did you use cane sugar or beet sugar for your recipe? If you used beet sugar, that might have caused the crystalizing. This is why most professional recipes for frosting specify cane sugar. Less chance of getting a gritty texture!

Guest's picture
Eddie Lutz

I love Sriracha and use it on nearly everything. I like Tobanjang chili paste too, maybe even better, but it's not carried in the stores where I live. Try making Pad Thai with Sriracha. Delicious!

Guest's picture

Wow, I can't believe I came across this post! I am an avid Sriracha eater and use it on almost everything I eat! I'm on Team Rooster :-)

Guest's picture
Stacey Brock

I love Sriracha and use it to help me eat my veggies.

Warning though all Sriracha is not created equal. Some add a lot of sugar and make it not a good choice. Roland is a brand that does this. For example the sriracha I'm using right now (Huy Fong Foods Brand) has 5 calories per tsp and 1 gram of sugar. Roland brand has 100 calories a tsp (300 a tablespoon!!!!) and 18 grams of sugar.

I just happened to glance and see the label on the roland brand I had purchased without reading the label. So moral of the story read the label. I included links to the two I was referring.

http://www.fatsecret.com/Diary.aspx?pa=fjrd&rid=1531348

http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/huy-fong-foods/sriracha-hot-...

Max Wong's picture

Hi Stacy!

Thanks for this information. I'm loyal to Huy Fong, so I had no idea about the sugary competitors.

Guest's picture
S K

What are the ingredients as listed on the label?

Guest's picture
Stacey Brock

Chili, Sugar, Salt, GArlic, Distilled Vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite and xanthan gum.

This is on my Huy Fong Foods brand that I leave at my desk at work..... see I LOVE this stuff.

Guest's picture

How about mashing up two ideas -- mason jars / sriracha peanut butter sandwich, and create a sriracha peanut butter sandwich in a jar!

Max Wong's picture
Max Wong

Oooh! Someone's busting my chops who knows all about my gigantic mason jar collection.

Oddly, I am not one of those cupcake in a jar people because I hate washing dishes. If I can eat something while standing over the sink I totally will.