Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Ho Ho Homemade Sriracha, fermented hot stuff


Ho ho ho! I have been busy. This is not an excuse for being away from the blog, but.. ok it is an excuse. Here's what's been happening the past couple weeks:

1. I've been spending time in south Thailand, standing on my head and eating yogic vegan food (not at the same time). Then gallivanting around the island on a motorbike with a crazy local who brought me  everywhere from the forests to the beaches to his village in bloody flipflops. I love this country. Everyone is always smiling and eating.

2. I have a shop now! HI LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING? There are only 4 items there now, but I'll be introducing more designs in a bit, mostly edible-themed (of course). There may be the occasional jar of chilli or pickles, if I feel up to it.

3. My mum's away on holiday, giving me full control of the kitchen. I am in awe of mums out there. I always go on about being spontaneous (unorganised) in the kitchen, but when you have so many mouths to feed and for every single day of the week, there is some massive planning involved.

4. However, not having my mum suck her cheeks in at every spill I make has given me the chance to do some fun stuff, like inviting friends over to be guinea pigs, taste-testing multiple permutations of multiple types of local obscure herbs, crazy mayos, and chilli sauces (for something exciting that's coming up soon, watch this space yo). Which brings me to this post.



Sriracha.

Otherwise known as Rooster Sauce, or That Asian Hot Sauce. Frankly, I've been living in Asia my whole life and only first saw it when I moved to London, but I like it anyway so there you go. It's wonderful squirted over a simple fried egg, on top of noodles, into your pork bun (or your cheese toastie), or stirred into sauces for a shortcut bit of tangy fresh heat. 

There's been quite a handful of recipes floating around on the web ever since news of the company being made to halt operations created a sort of tragic panic –funnily more so in the Western world than in Thailand where this sauce comes from. Being a geek, and electrified at the prospects of having the kitchen to myself, I tested about 8 recipes. This is the one that works, with slight tweaks to the ratios. It involves an extra step of fermentation, letting that blended chilli mixture get all funky and amazing with time and (friendly) bacteria. There is a depth and sharpness that doesn't come from just using vinegar alone, or worse, using tomato paste.



HOMEMADE SRIRACHA
makes a little more than 300ml
Ingredients
700g fresh red chillies*
4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp unrefined light cane sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt + extra big pinch
75ml water
125ml white vinegar

Traditionally, red jalapeno chillies are used. I use all serranos, which have a hotter, 'brighter' flavour.

Method
1. Behead chillies and chop up roughly. I leave the seeds in because I am lazy and because I like it hot. Blend chillies with garlic, sugar, salt, and the water, till very smooth. Transfer the puree into a glass jar, and cover.
2.  Leave it in a cool, dark place for 2 days if you live in Singapore, 3 days if you live in London, maybe 4 days if you live in an even colder country. You should see bubbles**.
3. When ready, transfer the fermented chilli mixture into a blender, add the vinegar, and puree again till smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into a saucepan to get all the residue and seeds out.
4. Simmer on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring once in a while, until the sauce is reduced to a sort-of crepe batter consistency. It will look like it's slightly on the thin side, but it will thicken more when cool.
5. Once cooled, transfer into a bottle, preferably a squeezy bottle for the most authentic Sriracha experience.

** You won't die. The microorganisms at work here are friendly.




I went through that bottle pretty fast. This was perfect sriracha. The wait makes it all the more wonderful, and no it is not a psychological effect.

Is it worth the effort when you can (for now) nip out to buy a bottle? Like making your own jam vs buying one (traditional, artisan, quality yadayada of course), perhaps not, but there is something so sweet and so special knowing that you flippin' made your own sriracha. And if you then gave that sriracha to your friends and family, you may just atone for your whole year's worth of sins. This hot stuff takes a couple more days of (non)work but if you do it now you will get it out in time for Christmas.

And even have time to make a few more chilli sauces because your friends (I) love chilli.
Mint sweet chilli sauce
Sambal tumis belachan (The ultimate labour of love. Only do for someone you want to marry.)

Or pickles.
Sweet asian pickles
My aunt's easy but stunning Nyonya achar
Better homemade kimchi (I lie. There is not enough time for this one now.)

Or stupidly simple things that don't require cooking.
Flavoured sugars– Pandan sugar! (featured in the latest issue of Blogosphere magazine)

~

Happy christmas everybody! Eat loads, make sure your roast potatoes are crispy, and that you finish every last bit of that bird.


48 comments:

  1. Sriracha is the best. EVER! love your fermentation process =)

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    1. Yeah! The fermentation makes it so much better.. like kimchi ;)

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  2. Hooray! I've been meaning to try fermenting hot sauce of some kind for awhile, so I'm super excited to see this recipe. Must try!

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    1. Hurrah! This is a perfect one to start off with! Its so versatile so you wouldn't run out of ways to use it!

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  3. Yoga, travelling around Thailand and opening a shop! Exciting times and congratulations. I've never tried fermenting anything but this hot sauce could be worth my first effort. :) Have a fab Christmas and New Year!

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    1. It feels good to be busy doing stuff I enjoy! The past year's been crazyyyyy and often not doing the most fun of things. This is definitely worth your first effort. It's also much quicker than other fermented things, like sauerkraut or kimchi which takes at least a week! Happy christmas and new year too lovely!!!

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    1. Woo! Merry christmas to you too rebecca!

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  5. Have you heard the story about the guy in California thatproduces hot hot hot sauce and the fumes from his little factory are pungent that the locals have gotten him to close the place down ... really. Can you believe it? Really ... here's the link to the story ... fyi ... thought you'd find it interesting ...

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/12/250430086/sriracha-maker-told-to-hold-its-sauce-for-30-days


    Oh ... Merry Christmas!

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    1. That's exactly the piece of news I mentioned! The latest I've heard, it may be shut for the whole of jan at least, perhaps even indefinitely, which is why chefs and hoemcooks everywhere (especially in the US. funny) are in a panic. Inspired me to try to find the recipe behind this sauce ha!

      Merry Christmas to you too Susan!!!

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  6. What a funky post, Shu! Thanks for the homemade sriracha recipe. I love sriracha and enjoy using most as a condiments for soups, sandwiches, etc.

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    1. Thanks Denise! It's definitely one of the most versatile chilli sauces around! :)

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  7. Your shop ROCKS. I love it. I shall be shopping.

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  8. I want to make this siracha...I think this would be tasty to eat together with chicken rice! Thanks for sharing. By the way, may I substitute vinegar with lime juice?

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    1. I still favour traditional garlic chilli for chicken rice, but why not?! ;) You could, but it will definitely taste different, perhaps not in a bad way but it wouldn't be exactl siracha-y.

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  9. NIce to see you back. I've missed reading your posts. I love your funky chillies. We all love hot food and chilli sauce and especially with eggs. Yum. Your holiday sounded amazing. I'll just go and check out your shop.
    Have an awesome Christmas.
    debx

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    1. Sorry debby- i'ts been crazy! I'll try to blog more often, or at least drop by your and other of my favourite blogs more! Woo! I'm a bit scared now, you beign the seasoned businesswoman ;) Have a wonderful christmas x

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  10. Heh, good timing. Half way through an emigration I realised that I might not be able to buy the same Sriracha in Singapore that I've become accustomed to (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flying-Goose-Sriracha-Extra-Garlic/dp/B004BTQIM0).

    Now I at least have an excuse to make a Sriracha with *even more* garlic...

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    1. Emigration? Are you moving to sg??

      YES to extra garlic. I completely approve.

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    2. Yeah! :) end of January. Roll on death by char Kway Teow and an extra 15kg...

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    3. I'll still be around. Hit me up let's go eat! shuhan90(at)gmail

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  11. I have heard of this chili sauce, check your recipes, it sound so easy to make wor. THanks for sharing. By the way, wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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    1. Hope you try making it! I think you will like it fellow chilli lover ;) HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR LOVELY FAMILY TOO!

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  12. I want to make my own sriracha too! Probably would keep the seeds too. The spicier, the better!

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    1. Hee hee knowing you, you might as well just use chilli padi :p

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  13. My batch of sriracha finished a while back and I haven't made any more. I'm glad to see your recipe and I just pulled out my chillies to make your version. Like the fermentation part. It's such a beautiful colour too. Congrats on your store! Have a very happy Christmas my dear Shuhan!

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    1. Oh! Glad to find a fellow sriracha-maker. Equally mad I suppose. Hope you give this fermented recipe a go; definitely gives it an extra oomph. Please please let me know how it turns out. I'm curious to see how it compares to your recipe. If you have any tips, please do share :) And thank you, happy christmas naz!

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  14. Hi Shu Han! Ah..I checked out your shop. Cool! I have heard of Sriracha (strangely from the Pioneer Woman's blog) and had no idea what it was except that chillies are involved. And now I know that they are fermented. Sounds interesting and worth a try when I am free.

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    1. Thanks phong hong! Haha not strange at all, I think it's a much more American sauce than Asian ;)

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  15. Thanks for sharing your recent fun life! I love sriracha (also learned after I moved to the States) amd make my own sriracha which is something similar to yours! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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    1. Hello yi! Curious to see your sriracha recipe!

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  16. Shuhan, first of all, I think I'm addicted to your photography and presentation. It's such a breath of fresh air to see the illustrations in your typical style full of humour. Love the toast at the top!
    Going back to the main subject, I have never been a fan of sriracha because the only stuff I tasted was so chemically and artificially boosted, I just threw it away. Since I regularly ferment stuff (now only I have my own 6 months old kimchi, salt pickled chillies and chopped "salt" chillies in my fridge; by the way the fermented chopped chillies seem to keep forever!), I will definitely try your recipe.
    You seem to be having lots of fun these days! (I have also heard people are very welcoming in Thailand; as for the food, I am a big fan of course). I am cheering myself with chocolate here... it's dark and raining... Have lovely holidays!

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    1. Aw thank you Sissi!
      Sriracha is probably peanuts to you; you have fermented and pickled LOADS on your blog!
      I've been having a blast, but now just enjoying a festive lull with the family. Hope to be up and running doing more fun stuff soon.

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  17. I didn't even realise sriracha was fermented!! wtf? I just down the stuff... could drink it, dear God. Sriracha and mayonnnaise on a cracker... :D

    Glad you've been having fun on your vacation - Thailand sounds like so much fun. Hope I get to visit it some day, maybe.

    By the way - how come all the prices in your store are in SGD? Is it a Singaporean site or am I missing something?

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    1. "Could drink it" hahaha. Sriracha mayo is DA BOMB I agree.

      I'm in sg charles! Have been for the past couple of months and will be for the next month or so at least while my visa gets sorted out. Hope to be back in london in the new year, fingers crossed!

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  18. Can I just admit that I'm relieved you went through the 8 test trials so that I don't have to? I've been toying with the idea of making sriracha for ages now, but the amount of information available online was always so vacillating and indeterminate. You are brilliant, as usual! The shop is looking lovely and right on-point with your simple and clean styling.

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    1. Haha I'm a geek so I love the testing part. I've tested steamed buns 5 times.. still not completely pleased. Thanks Irina, glad to hear from another fellow designer that the shop's looking good hurrahhh!

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  19. You sure have been busy. Your clear tutorial makes it easy to give this recipe a go.

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  20. Wow you certainly are a busy bee!! I'm very envious of your productivity. I barely manage to post once a month!! I first discovered Sriracha in America... I definitely support the idea of making your own. Great post, as usual :)

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    1. P.S. Just realised we share the same surname, Miss Lee ;)

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    2. OOH! Hello Miss Lee!
      Haha I am unfortunately not as productive as you believe me to be. I get occasional spurts of energy sometimes..

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  21. No way, too cool! Definitely digging your funky chillies all dressed up for Christmas ;-). I've been working on a version of homemade buffalo sauce and Indian red curry but you know, Sriracha is right up there near and dear to my heart! :) And I love the idea of a homespun version minus all the junk that typically goes in to bottled condiments. Plus, how cool is it to ferment your own food. Great idea for a recipe. I hope you take some time to chill from all your adventures Shu and enjoy some holiday cheer! All the best, k.

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    1. Woah homemade buffalo sauce? Is the recipe up on your blog? Got to run a search for sure, that sounds amazing.
      Fermented food is brilliant, both flavour-wise and health-wise and just cool factor-wise.
      I am having a beautiful time with the family just eating and doing nothing :) Hope you've had a wonderful Christmas!

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  22. Homemade Sriracha? You are the best! Funny thing, growing up in Asia, I too never heard of sriracha until when I went to high school in the States. I look forward to trying this!

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    1. exactly!? It's definitely more an American than Asian sauce ;)

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  23. Wow, finger licking good...
    my upper lips was sweating just by reading this post!!!
    i lovin it much more with bird eye chillies.........

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  24. now this is how to eat toast :-)

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