In love with Sriracha

Sriracha is a magical elixir, with complex flavors and aromatic heat, that is as ubiquitous in Thai restaurants as ketchup is in American diners. The flavor of this hot sauce is as vibrant as its glowing red color, with a perfect balance of spicy, sweet, sour and salty nuances.

At my restaurant, we referred to it as “Love” and it went on just about everything my employees and I ate. During our staff meals, we'd pour it on pizzas, douse burritos in it and, believe it or not, drizzle it over fresh mango slices. We were a real sight to behold, each of us flush-faced with sweat dotting our foreheads from the intense heat of the sauce, but there is something thoroughly addicting about Sriracha that always made us reach for more, despite our glorious agony.

Recently I learned of two Sriracha related things that got me very excited. The first is a recipe for homemade Sriracha on the website, Leite's Culinaria. It is surprisingly simple to make, and while I haven't attempted it myself, yet, I am really curious to see how well this recipe compares to the real deal. I have to question the logic behind messing with perfection, but at the same time, I am also dying to know the secrets behind something that is such a large part of my gastronomical repertoire.

The second thing I discovered was the Sriracha cookbook, a tome solely devoted to one man's, understandable, affection for, and obsession with, this diverse condiment. There are recipes in the book, and accompanying blog, for everything from vinaigrettes to sauces and it covers courses from breakfast to dessert. Some highlights include Sriracha enhanced macaroni and cheese, popcorn, bloody Mary's, chocolate truffles and peach sorbet. While I'm not one who usually goes for single ingredient specific cookbooks, I have to admit that this one has really piqued my curiosity. To think that there are applications for Sriracha that I have not yet thought of proves not only that there are Sriracha fans out there even more obsessed than I am, but also that I need to quickly get busy trying out some of these new ideas. I’ll let you know which ones shine.

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