What you should know about sriracha sauce

 Image credit: CookieAMA mobile app

For whatever reasons hot sauce and chili cook-outs seem to always be a hit among tech teams.  Hot sauce, chills, chili cook-outs, hot sauce challenges ... etc.   It is funny to see those with reflective skin always brag about food in scoville units while the naturally sun protected skin group are always gobbling up without a sweat and back to their desk asap.   Our GM used to bring his own blend of chili mix to our lunch meetings and there were always people who couldn't wait to kiss up how special and spicy it was.  I arrived late due to a production issue at one of the lunch meetings and was seated next to my GM and crap! there it was his special blend of chili peppers.  As always people kept asking for it to keep my GM happy but when he gave it to me, I passed it on to my colleague and he was not pleased.  I was known to have rare allergy issues so it was easy for me to say 'I can't take any chance not showing up at work later.'   I like spicy food but not the type of burning hot without any flavor.  I find eating crazily hot spicy food is suicidal.  I would not drink a bottle of capsaicin just to prove I was gutsy.  Grew up eating chili everyday, we hold certain standard about good chilis instead of blindly follow scoville units.  For example, Trader Joe smoked ghost pepper is awesome (the grinder is crappy) with the right balance of heat and flavor not just *hole burning hot.  

That said, Huy Fong sriracha sauce was always a do-able shelf stable hot sauce considering the price vs. time for making it from scratch.   What makes a good hot sauce is the quality of the chilis, which Huy Fong assumes their brand could get away with when breaking up with their long time supplier, the Underwood Ranch. 

I watched a documentary on Netflix glorifying such a rare honorable business relationship built by trust less than a year before the lawsuit surfaced in 2017.  Damn, I want my time back!  The Huy Fong sriracha hot sauce without the top quality of chilis is not worth the calories.  Yet Huy Fong has cut even more corners by replacing distilled vinegar with acetic acid, WT#.  I would not bother to check the label if it didn't hit me with a very strange and pungent chemical taste from their new batches of hot sauce after the break-up.  A bottle of hot sauce without quality chilis plus the lingering chemical acidic after taste is merely a bottle of overpriced spicy water.  

There is nothing special about sriracha, or an Asian style garlic chili hot sauce to be exact (No! Huy Fong did not invent it).  What makes a good garlic chili sauce stands out is always the quality of the chili.  I always use Thai chili, whether frozen imported from Thailand or locally/Mexico grown but jalapeño works just fine if it matches your personal preference or when it is in season.  I may even go more crazy growing the chili myself using my favorite chili seed collections.  As long as you use good chili, the rest is just getting the chili to garlic and vinegar* ratio you fancy while always boiling the vinegar for a smoother taste.

The steps of making garlic chili hot sauce are simple and straight forward; however, I wasn't picky enough to put up with the chili fumes if making the sauce myself.  Not until the downgraded version of Huy Fong sriracha sauce ruined my cooking and the price hike due to the shortage.   There are never winners in any business lawsuits but a true one in my house who will never have to go back to those store bought garlic chili sauce again. 

A simple recipe here if you fancy

* I use a specific brand of imported rice vinegar and buy it by the case to age them