24 Apr2013

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I’m sure you’re thinking, “why bother?!”… The answer is that I want to understand many of the ingredients that I use, and making them from scratch, even if just once or twice, is a great way to get to know them. In this case, sriracha has featured in a couple of recent experiments, and a quick review of bottle labels pointed to just a few key ingredients… chillies, vinegar, sugar, garlic and water. How hard could that be to replicate? :)

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A search through the internet and some cookbooks all seemed to point to a similar process of putting the sauce together, the main variables being the type of chillies used, the type of vinegar and palm sugar, which I didn’t have in stock, so I used brown sugar instead. This is how I made my sriracha, roughly 150 grams of long thai chilies, de-seeded 90% of them, you may choose to de-seed 100%. Roughly 100 grams of smaller red chilies and just another 25 grams or so of de-seeded siling labuyo (but the fake ones) as opposed to the really native ones. Use gloves when handling the chillies, particularly in this volume. Chop them all up nicely and place in a heavy bottomed pot.

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Add about 10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped. Then 1 cup or just slightly more of water, and the same amount of rice vinegar (you may use coconut or other distilled vinegars). I added 2-3 large pinches of salt and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar and let this come to a boil and lowered heat to let this simmer for 12-14 minutes or until the liquid had reduced to approximately half the amount you started with. You can tell there was a lot of eyeballing in this recipe attempt.

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Use an immersion blender to puree the chillies (I had to move the mixture to a glass measuring cup to get sufficient depth of ingredients for the immersion blender to work properly) until quite smooth. You can use a regular blender, but you MUST MUST wash it well afterwards or suffer chilli-nitis in anything you blend for weeks afterwards. :)

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I tasted the mixture and recoiled from the initial spiciness, so I returned it to the pot and added two more tablespoons of brown sugar to temper the heat. Stirred for another 2 minutes over a low flame and turned off the gas. Let this cool before bottling in sterilized bottles and storing in the fridge. Once cooled, this had a SPECTACULAR flavor profile… spicy yet flavorful, a tad sweet and a bit of the vinegar shining through. A VERY VERY good chili sauce, if I may say so myself. And the consistency and texture was perfect! Just like the top brand of bottled sriracha, less that characteristic gumminess provided by the addition of xantham gum. Not bad for a first ever attempt. So this is DOABLE at home if you wanted to make your own. :)

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Take note of the bright fresh color of the sriracha, without the addition of any artificial coloring or preservatives. I used some of the freshly made sriracha in my version of singapore style curried noodles later the same day and it worked beautifully with the other ingredients… This should last a couple of weeks if refrigerated. I suppose you could heat treat it and it would last months, but I didn’t make enough to do that… just ended up with about 12oz worth. The one downside is that this amount cost some PHP200+ pesos to make, which makes the homemade version actually a bit more expensive than the commercially made srirachas! I guess the cost of grocery purchased chillies is a bit high… particularly if you buy them on a lark at a Rustan’s grocery in a mall setting… :)

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Here is a bottle of the “rooster” sriracha manufactured in the U.S. and which arguably launched the recent madness for all things sriracha. Developed by a Vietnamese immigrant to replicate a sauce he was used to from back home, he popularized it in U.S. dining and chef circles and everyone assumes this was a U.S. thing. Purists or traditionalists will argue it simply repackaged a sauce used in Thailand for ages… At any rate, on the ingredients list of this bottle, it adds xantham gum and a preservative to the ingredients I used. I suspect the type of chillies they use also vary. It’s interesting to note that it is VERY hard to gauge the spiciness of one crop of chili from another, so they must use some method of standardizing the results for this commercial sauce… Personally, I have always liked the slight unpredictability of produce… but understand why others seek uniformity.

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In another brand/bottle of sriracha, this time manufactured in Thailand, the first thing you notice is that it is slightly darker in color, and in addition to the ingredients I used, and the santham gum and preservative, they also add some MSG.

At any rate, as I described above, it is pretty darned easy to make your own sriracha, in case you didn’t have ready access to it in your town’s grocery, or if you just feel like doing it for the sake of doing it. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. cumin says:

    Good morning, MM! No, I am not surprised to see you make sriracha from scratch, in fact I’m waiting for you to grow your own rice! Pero talaga, there is great joy in cooking your own stuff — something that many of us have learned from you. I’m surprised though that your ingredients added up to P200 because the chillies I bought in the market aren’t expensive at all. Maybe the rice vinegar?

    Btw, soon after you made your own chilli oil, I saw this recipe in another blog: http://lemonsandanchovies.com/2013/03/chinese-chili-sauce/#.UXcKJkrTPOc

    Apr 24, 2013 | 6:41 am

     
  2. Footloose says:

    The mad race to come up with the hottest chili needed an accurate and replicable test so they use liquid chromatography but more recently and which yields almost instant results, a computer model fed with information picked up with a spectrograph.

    You know after the Parisian debut of your calamansi confiture, the next logical step for an intrepid shriracha experimenter would be hot chili jelly which should be a cinch.

    Apr 24, 2013 | 6:44 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    cumin, hahaha, grow my own rice, thanks for that. Actually, I can’t stand the squishiness of the mud when planting (I have tried it) but worse, the risk of leeches, or at least that was what my mom would tell us if we did nothing useful with our education and ended up growing rice in some family rice plots/fields they had in Bohol and there were leeches that would crawl up your legs… As for the cost of the sriracha, I am sure it was the exorbitant chilies (long Thai ones) from Rustan’s that made it expensive. If I bought them at a farm or market the cost would have dropped in half at least.

    Footloose, have never made chili jelly… hmmm. But I did just make a wonderful sriracha salt, up soon.

    Apr 24, 2013 | 7:33 am

     
  4. Papa Ethan says:

    Thanks, MM, for taking the lead once again in experimenting. I hope to find some free time pretty soon to try your recipe above. In your recent post on sriracha-soy fried chicken, Connie C shared a link to another home-made sriracha sauce recipe. That one had shallots, and the end result (based on the pictures) was more yellow-orange compared to yours. I want to try that out, too, to have a comparison. I just love anything with sili!

    Oh, and please let us know once you do start growing your own rice. Hehe..

    Apr 24, 2013 | 8:41 am

     
  5. millet says:

    good work, MM! and i have to agree with you on the two things that are eternally unpredictable with chilies – the price and the spiciness. but fresh sriracha is worth the effort, i think! can’t wait to try this, but i have to remind myself not to inhale into the pot while cooking.

    Apr 24, 2013 | 9:59 am

     
  6. Clarissa says:

    I do that, a lot, trying to make everything on my own, just because :) I am sure if I run across some cheap chilis anytime soon, I’ll be making sriracha too. I’ve made chili oil (which turned out spicier than I thought it would), yogurt, kombucha tea (with disastrious results), bacon, green curry paste, corned beef, ice cream, etc. Anything that doesn’t come in its raw form. Even puto using a “mother” yeast :P It’s fun. But it requires patience most of the time, a lot of patience.

    Apr 24, 2013 | 10:52 am

     
  7. PITS, MANILA says:

    i always thought that thai-sriracha uses roasted chili … even that chili-dip they use for chicharon uses roasted chili.

    Apr 24, 2013 | 1:13 pm

     
  8. Khew says:

    http://tropicalhorticulture.blogspot.com/2009/05/horticultural-carbon-terra-preta-and.html :
    ” Our most extreme experiment was to grow rice on 100% horticultural carbon in plastic basins. The basins, about 20 cm deep, were three-quarters filled with carbon particles and topped up with water. Rice seeds were sown direct on the surface. Our Indonesian workers, rice-growers in their former lives, all had a good laugh because “everybody knows that rice only grows on tanah liat (sticky clay soil)”. Well, our rice grew and produced a heavy crop of grains. We have now grown three successive crops. The roots form very dense mats. ”

    Biochar is just a fancy name for charcoal. I’m using charcoal bits in imitation of terra preta and am amazed at the results. What I like most is the peace of mind from knowing that I’ve established permanent fertility, banished concerns about soil acidity( a bane in the tropics ) and the overall clean feel.

    Apr 24, 2013 | 1:45 pm

     
  9. Rob says:

    MM,
    Have you read Andrea Nguyen’s post about making Sriracha Sauce (Tuong ot Sriracha):

    http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/07/homemade-thai-style-sriracha-chile-sauce-recipe-tuong-ot-sriracha.html

    Apr 24, 2013 | 2:11 pm

     
  10. weng says:

    Hello MM! May I please ask if you bought that Huy Fong Sriracha sauce here in the Philippines? If so, may I please know where? I love that particular brand (I practically put it on everything) and have been looking all over for it with no luck that’s why I was so excited to see it here on your site. Thank you!

    Apr 24, 2013 | 7:36 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    weng, huy fong sriracha available at S&R, I just some at the Fort Bonifacio branch earlier today. It has the distinctive green cap. Rob, thanks for that link, very interesting read…

    Apr 24, 2013 | 7:53 pm

     
  12. Natie says:

    Such passion and curiosity! Love! Great reminder to wash everything well after using…capsicums! Love Mama’s threats on the end result of not pursuing higher learning! Although Agricultural Degree equals big bucks too..with crew and Chief of Stuff!

    I did bettyQ’s XO sauce and the result was ok…will just buy, though..time is money also…

    Apr 24, 2013 | 9:53 pm

     
  13. Mimi says:

    http://www.reclaimingprovincial.com/2012/09/30/homemade-sriracha/ I read this last year. The blogger even grew her own chillies! Bon Appetit did several articles on how to use sriracha (on mayonnaise, sandwiches, chicken wings, etc) and had a history about it.

    Don’t know if I’d dare try to make it as I already cough and sneeze when turning the pepper mill, what more handling that much chillies!

    Apr 24, 2013 | 10:27 pm

     
  14. Betchay says:

    First encountered sriracha sauce here from bettyq who even offered to sent one if it’s not available here(bettyq is really a very generous person!) so when I did find it at SnR,I bought a big bottle and never ran out of it eversince.I even ditched my regular tabasco red hot devil sauce!My son loves it so much!

    Apr 25, 2013 | 6:25 am

     
  15. weng says:

    Thank you, MM!

    Apr 25, 2013 | 10:08 am

     
  16. EbbaBlue says:

    Ewan ko, pero my Puti husband prefers the Tabasco red and green chile sauce, ayaw niya ng Sriracha, matamis daw, hahaha tamang-tama raw sa Pinoy’s palate.

    Apr 25, 2013 | 11:08 pm

     
  17. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Its amazing how ubiquitous Sriracha has become alongside ketchup, mustard and Tobasco here in the west.

    Apr 26, 2013 | 3:26 am

     
  18. Fred says:

    I wonder how similar sriracha sauce is to the chili sauce they served at kowloon house siopao branches. That stuff comes in 1-2 litter gallons if I recall.

    Apr 29, 2013 | 9:10 pm

     
  19. Slightly Epicurean says:

    Naku, I’m way behind my readings! Anyway, MM speaking of chillies po, would you know where I could find the type of sili they put in Kung Pao dishes? The dried shiny ones?

    May 7, 2013 | 10:47 am

     
  20. mini_chef says:

    Hi MM, you mentioned heat treating the sauce to make it last longer.
    Do you know how to do the heat treat process? Is it possible to do it at home?

    May 23, 2013 | 11:42 am

     
  21. Roddy Abaya says:

    So my wife just came from Baguio with what
    looked like habaneros… If they weren’t, they were sure as hell the hottest chilies I’ve ever had.

    Tried the sriracha eyeball technique, using red finger chilies (not spicy), rice vinegar, brown sugar and water.

    Results were ok – hottest (and sweetest) sriracha
    I’ve had….. Only for the brave.

    Thanks MM!

    Jul 15, 2013 | 1:34 pm

     
  22. liz says:

    Wow I may have to try doing that myself. I love sriracha with hoisin. (maybe you can experiment making hoisin from scratch next time? :) )

    by the way, where do you source your jars? I’ve been looking for a good manila supplier but hasn’t been successful.

    Sep 1, 2013 | 6:53 pm

     
  23. Marketman says:

    liz, San Miguel Packaging Products sell their jars through authorized reps… you may want to give them a ring, they are in the yellow pages, to ask where the nearest supplier is to you. mini-chef, treat it like jam, just place in a pot fully covered by water, then bring to a boil and let it boil for say 10 minutes before turning it off and removing the bottles from the water. Essentially you are bringing the contents to a temperature where you kill off bacteria growth… slightly epicurean, those are in most large Chinese groceries or arranque market in bulk, I did a post on them before…

    Sep 1, 2013 | 10:13 pm

     

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