When we came home from vacation last week, the ever-abundant jalapeño and serrano chile plants in our garden were heavy with ripe, red and ready-to-rot fruit. If I wanted to use this bounty, I figured that I had only three options: I could make an inedibly spicy dinner that night. I could pick the peppers and stick them in the back of the vegetable crisper to continue rotting. Or I could try and devise some way to preserve them.
And so I decided to make my own version of sriracha sauce. Reading the label on the back of the Huy Fong bottle, the recipe seemed to consist of little more than ripe red chiles, sugar, garlic and vinegar.
Easy enough. I coarsely chopped the red chiles as well as a few green ones with some garlic and tossed them with several spoonfuls of sugar to macerate, much like berries for a pie. I covered the bowl and forgot about them until the next day.
At that point, the soupy chilies found their way to the blender. I added some seasoned rice vinegar, some salt and a small can of tomato paste. I know. Real sriracha — neither the popular Huy Fong brand nor the several Thai versions — contains tomato paste. But I was concerned that I wouldn’t get the right, ketchupy texture without it.
The flavor was at first blatantly sweet and extremely spicy — kind of like the bastard child of red pepper chow chow and sriracha. But it mellowed after a few days in the fridge into something more intriguing. So far, everyone in our household seems to enjoy it as an alternative to the regular sriracha. We’ve liked it on tuna burgers, stirred into ratatouille, with grilled chicken thighs and off of fingers.
If you have more peppers than you know what to do with, you might try this recipe:
Homemade Sweet Sriracha