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All About Sriracha: A Humble History, Plus Spicy Recipes with a Kick

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

You’re probably living under a rock if you aren’t familiar with Sriracha. Okay, maybe you don’t know its name, but we're 99% sure that you’ve seen the eye-catching red sauce with a rooster in front and an unmistakable green cap on top. Meet Sriracha, the pride of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

What is Sriracha?

Sriracha is a medium heat hot chili sauce that’s made from a paste of chili peppers, sugar, garlic, distilled vinegar, and salt. It stands at a mild 1,000-2,500 on the Scoville scale, making this a great choice of spicy seasoning that can appeal to a wider palate. Brands may differ in their formulation, but it’s usually described as a quirky mix of spicy, tangy, sweet, and garlicky flavors. 

The origins of Sriracha Sauce remain highly debated but this universally loved Asian hot sauce is popularly believed to have come from Thanom Chakkapak of Si Racha, Thailand. Chakkapak is said to have owned a local shop in the 1930s where Burmese sawmill workers would buy the base ingredients of sriracha and pound them in a mortar to create the sauce. Soon enough, she started making the sauce for family and friends, and eventually marketed it commercially. 


Fast forward to the 1980s in Los Angeles, David Tran was searching for a good hot sauce that was worthy of his fellow Vietnamese immigrants’ pho soup. He derived his rendition of the sriracha sauce from the OG Thai recipe and used jalapeno chilies in the process to make the famous Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce. The rest, as they say, is history (one that rakes in over $1B a year in global sales, to be exact.).

The universal appeal of Sriracha lies in its superior flavors and versatility. You can use it for literally anything that you want for a dash of spice and everything nice. That’s probably why you’ll see Sriracha keychains here and there! 

Here are some quick and easy Sriracha sauce recipes from Bon Appetit that you can prepare right at home:

1. Pho

There are no strict rules to how much sriracha or hoisin sauce you want to pair with your pho. But what you want to do is add in all your veggies first and taste the broth. It’ll usually be fresh, meaty, and hearty enough on its own, but if you’re in the mood for something sweet and spicy, squirt the sauce on a separate sauce dish where you can dip your meat separately. This way, you can balance the fresh flavors of your pho broth while flavoring your meat the way you want it.

2. Sriracha Miso Salmon

Mix 2 tsp. Sriracha, 1 Tbsp. miso, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Spread on four 4-oz. salmon fillets. Broil until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes.

3. Sriracha Mayonnaise

Mix regular or Japanese mayonnaise with sriracha and use it for your Bahn mi or Cuban sandwich. Alternatively, you can buy Lee Kum Kee’s ready-made Sriracho Mayo from Karman Foods’ selections.

4. Sriracha Chicken Salad

Mix equal amounts of plain Greek yogurt and mayo. Add Sriracha and rice vinegar to taste. Toss with shredded chicken, carrots, scallions, and peanuts.

5. Sriracha Burger

Mix in your sriracha with some ketchup and mayo before layering it with your burger.

After all the years of success, David Tran never paid much attention to fame and fortune. As he told Huffington Post, his only dream was “to make enough fresh chili sauce so that everyone who wants Huy Fong can have it. Nothing more.” Thanks to his humble venture, you can have it Sriracha at an affordable price via Karman Foods!

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