While browsing my indispensable Lonely Planet guide one day in Bangkok, I noticed the small Southern seaport village of Sriracha on a map. It was only a few hours away. The next day we hopped a bus headed south to the gulf of Thailand. Upon arrival, I proceeded to ask anyone who would listen how the town’s namesake chili sauce was made. Everyone, from restaurateurs and housewives to “average Joes” on the street gave me the same puzzled look, and insisted that everyone buys the stuff, and only the factories know how to make it. I never found the source on that trip, this recipe was developed by talking with Thai cooks, tasting the bottled sauces in Thailand and the USA and figuring it out.
With this recipe, it will only take you moments to transform red chilies, garlic, salt, fish sauce, sugar, and vinegar into this smooth brilliant red sauce. If you want to plan ahead and invest more time a few days of fermenting the chilies really develops a more complex flavor. From its humble beginnings in this small seaside town, Sriracha chili sauce has become one of the most used sauces in fusion foods. It’s added to mayonnaise for spicy sushi rolls, squeezed on French fries with ketchup, and bottles of this Thai sauce can curiously be found in nearly every Vietnamese restaurant to accompany the classic beef noodle soup.
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.