20+ Ways to Use Sriracha (AKA Awesome Sauce)
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?