The very first project I embarked on in 2013, besides a big time day of rest after some bubbly-fueled karaoke on New Year’s Eve, was making my very own Sriracha. Inspired the real thing, and adapted from Reclaiming Provincial, who’s adapting from a recipe on Serious Eats, which is in turn, based on a recipe from the namesake cookbook. It gets around. This experience is less about some recipe – the focus is just that, the tale of my personal chili sauce creating endeavor. The idea popped into my head around the time the bottle of Sriracha in my fridge was nearing its end, why buy another plastic bottle when I could try my hand at filling one? What was I waiting for? Summer? Well, yes. Nevertheless, I kept my eyes peeled for the requisite red jalapeño and serrano peppers, just in case. If I saw them, it would surely be a sign. Or a reason, give or take some divinity and spice.
Shockingly, I didn’t have very long to wait or far to go, thanks a random and lucky red jalapeño sighting at the Hawthorne Safeway. While I went with convenient green serranos, once pureed, all you could see was bright red chili. I decided to go with sea salt and coconut sugar based on my own preferences, and the measurements are below. This is by no means my recipe, but because this project included so much enthusiasm on my end, and it’s been around the block on the internet, I wanted to pass it on.
The prior recipes instruct straining after the final puree, but honestly, if you’re using a high-powered blender and don’t mind a thicker sauce, I think you’re good to go. I was too annoyed by my initial straining and whether they’re smashed, fresh, chopped, pickled or dried – I’ll take that heat.
Flavor-wise, my batch produced much more immediate, sweet heat vs. the bite of the packaged stuff. I find myself using a bit more on a dish for heat than if I’d went with the bottle. The heat is truly based on the peppers, which will no doubt be even more vibrant come summer, when I plan to make another batch of similar sauce using even hotter chiles. My loose interpretation is that cost-wise, the bottle is minutely cheaper (especially if you’re a) picking it up for a decent price at an Asian supermarket and b) opting for organic produce in the winter), but aren’t you so damn proud of yourself with this project?! Dude, you made Sriracha!
Heads up: I made one batch of this recipe, and immediately started another two days later after my initial tastes. Get your jars ready!
DIY Sriracha - all credit to the recipes listed above!
- 1 lb red jalalpeño peppers, stem removed
- 1/2 lb green or red serrano peppers, stem removed > red are recommended, but I used green without a worry
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar >I’ve been really fixated Wholesome Sweetener’s the past few months, and enjoy the flavor it contributes here, but any sugar will do
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Make that Sriracha:
Pulse the peppers, garlic, sugar and salt in a food processor until well blended, scraping down a few times. Carefully move the spread to a large jar and place the lid on (I followed Reclaiming Provincial’s advice to let the lid sit on, unsealed). Keep the jar out of direct sunlight. Stir daily and check for bubbling – the fermentation, daily, which should occur within 2-3 days. Now, this is contrary to instructions on the internet, but I wasn’t seeing any bubbling for the first couple of day with batch #1, and was advised by a friend to move the jar onto my kitchen counter. Sure enough, I started seeing bubbles in both batches within 24 hours. Once you’re seeing bubbles (in a good way, really), puree the mixture with vinegar in a blender on high until it’s very smooth. Then, consider straining, and move to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Let reasonably cool, jar and you’re done. Get your tip jar ready.