Sriracha seems to be the new hipster fashion accessory, along with beard decorations and the ankle slither. At the end of my road a new deep South American café has opened which has sriracha on every table, replacing the traditional breakfast condiment of Heinz ketchup. The waiters urge you to try it slathered all over their Louisiana buttermilk biscuits – the “ultimate American breakfast”, or so I’m told. Sriracha sauce is a fermented hot chilli sauce made of chilli, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. It originated in Thailand but has become hugely popular in trendy Weston cafés, with the most popular brand being the “rooster sauce” by Huy Fong Foods.
My housemate Amy works at the local organic supermarket, Better Foods Company in Bristol. Like any supermarket they often have stock that has gone past its best, so Amy gets to bring back bags of apples, vegetables, and in this case a huge bag of fresh chillies. I decided to split the chilli pile in half, making two recipes of homemade aged sriracha and harissa paste (recipe for harissa to come). Both add spice and depth of flavour to any recipe, and they last well so I didn’t waste anything. This sriracha is half way between tabasco and the ‘rooster sauce’. You can sieve the pulp out after stage 4 to make 1 tabasco style sauce and one thicker sauce, but I like to keep it all mixed in. I wonder if I can officially join the ‘smug hipster society’ with my frugal homemade aged sriracha…. shame I can’t get beard baubles though.
Homemade Aged Sriracha
Makes about 250ml
- 100g Hot Chillies (preferably red but I had a few green ones too)
- 8 Garlic Cloves
- 2 tbsp Unrefined Sugar
- 1½ tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Water
- 150ml Apple Cider Vinegar
- Remove the tips from the chillies and peel the garlic cloves.
- Place the chillies and garlic into a blender, along with the sugar, salt and water and blend until a fine paste forms*. You may need to stop the blender and push the paste down a number of times.
- Transfer the paste into a clean jar or bottle**, loosely cover and leave to ferment for 7-10 days (in a UK winter, if you’re somewhere warmer this process may only take 3-5 days). You want to see air bubbles within the paste.
- Add the vinegar, cover and shake to combine the paste and vinegar. Keep in the fridge and use within 6 months.
* At this stage the chilli aroma may hit the back of your throat as the seeds and flesh are pulsed. All 3 of us were in the kitchen and we all started coughing uncontrollably 🙂 (sorry Edna and Amy).
** A good way to sterilise glass jars or bottles is to wash well in hot soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking sheet and put in an oven heated to 140°/120°C fan until they are completely dry (10 minutes or so).