Glossary of Foods: Sriracha

| Diet & Nutrition

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Sriracha is the hottest condiment since ketchup. Literally, it's hot! If it was possible to compete with ketchup as a cultural icon and a staple in the culinary world, sriracha, or "rooster sauce," as many know it, has done just that. The cult foodie following behind sriracha claims that this hot sauce is universally versatile and delicious on any food. There's even a sriracha documentary! Although it seems sriracha just emerged on the market as a popular condiment, 20 million bottles were sold in 2012 and sales are growing rapidly as more and more people discover this sauce.

Sriracha in a Bowl

Sriracha (pronounced see-rah-cha) is named after a city in Eastern Thailand known as Si Racha. A woman from this area developed a spicy sauce from chilies, and its popularity spread not only through Thailand, but also through other countries, especially Vietnam. Sriracha, as we know it in the United States, was developed by Vietnam emigrant David Tran for his company Huy Fong Foods, which started as a small outfit in the 1980s based in California. David's sauce is made from sun-ripened chilies ground into a paste with garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar, and it's thicker and spicier than the original version from Asia. The Huy Fong brand of sriracha, easily recognized by its clear bottle of bright red sauce and green cap, is the most popular brand in the United States.

If you are wary of spicy foods, fear not. This hot sauce is said to be incredibly balanced and, as a result, can be used on a variety of foods. It's a little spicy, a little tangy, and a little sweet. Try it any number of different ways.

Straight: Use as a dipping sauce or squirt straight from the bottle.

Sauce: Sriracha's spicy flavor profile complements a sauce or dip with ease. Add sriracha to greek yogurt or light sour cream for a creamy dip or topping with a little kick.

Soup or Stew: In Vietnam, sriracha is popular with a traditional noodle soup called pho. Add sriracha to any soup or stew for maximum flavor and few added calories. Sriracha would also be great in a healthy, light gazpacho.

Meats or Marinades: Marinate your favorite cut of meat with the addition of a little sriracha, to taste. It works great with any meat or fish, barbecue dishes, meatloaf, wings, and more. Try these Sriracha Beef Cabbage Bowls for a tasty sriracha kick.

Eggs/Cheese: Spicy, tangy sriracha is a great balance for the creaminess of eggs or cheese. A sriracha kick will surely help you wake up if you top your morning omelette or frittata with a dab of sauce.

Drinks: Bland tomato or vegetable juice gets an upgrade with the addition of some sriracha. Also add sriracha to taste in this Skinny Bloody Mary.

Sriracha can add flavor to any dish! Give it a try and you may make sriracha your latest and greatest kitchen staple.