This little green and red bottle has taken over tables and fridges all over town. Seemingly ubiquitous for culinary junkies, Sriracha is now popping up in more mainstream places every day. Sriracha, in all its spicy, potent glory, has uses far beyond the Asian cuisine from which it came. Don’t relegate this condiment to stir-fry and Banh Mi. Work it into just about any sauce, condiment, or marinade for an untraceable hit of heat, and taste how it elevates all the other flavors. The only place I haven’t found a use for it is dessert, though I'm sure there's a recipe for Sriracha laced chocolate sauce somewhere.
With the weather in New Jersey reaching untenable heights this week, reach for Sriracha for a bit of reprieve. The capsaicin (which gives Sriracha its kick) causes your body to cool itself, and also provides a natural high, while also raising your metabolic rate. What’s not to love? Also, the little rooster on the bottle bears an uncanny resemblance to Montclair’s own rooster resident on Park Street- it’s a win-win. For five unexpected uses for Sriracha, see my list below.
Bloody Mary: Naturally a cocktail had to make this list. If you think you’ve got your Bloody Mary recipe down pat then by all means shake that up with a squirt of Sriracha for some unexpected heat. If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration, give this one a try. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2009/09/the_best_bloody_mary
Cocktail Sauce: Mix ketchup, horseradish, a squeeze of lemon, and a squirt of Sriracha, and salt and pepper to taste. Use for shrimp cocktail, or in place of mignonette sauce with your oysters on the half shell.
Deviled Eggs: Make like all the hip gastro-pubs in the city and revamp this old grandma’s classic. Remove the yolks of hardboiled eggs and mash them up with some mayo, a bit or mustard, and a squirt of Sriracha, season, then spoon them back into the egg halves. Garnish with chives or celery leaves, and watch them disappear right before your eyes.
Soup: For a summer cold, or just a comforting bowl of something restorative, heat up some beef or chicken broth, add a dab of miso paste, some ramen or soba noodles, chopped scallions, a healthy squirt of Sriracha, and heat everything through. Stir in some fresh herbs (try basil, parsley, mint, or cilantro) at the last minute. It’s like your own Vietnamese Pho without calling for takeout.
Garlic Bread: Mince a few cloves of garlic, season with salt and pepper, then pour in olive oil to make a paste. Add a squirt of Sriracha (depending on your preference) and spread on a halved baguette. Press the halves together, wrap in foil, and grill or bake till warmed through. Sprinkle with a hit of parsley if you have some around.
*Photo Credit Food & Wine, NYTimes