Ever since I first saw Daenerys Targaryen, Khaleesi and the Mother of Dragons, I’ve always wanted to look like her – the lovely blonde tresses, slim figure, and infinite grace – what’s not to love? While I’m nowhere near looking like her, I have managed to find a way to look like her pet dragon, Dracarys at times. My first taste of the delicious and oh-so-hot sriracha chilli sauce made quite sure that I turned into a fire-breathing dragon! In an ode to the sauce, The Oatmeal comic rightly said, “Sriracha, you are a delicious blessing flavoured with the incandescent glow of a thousand dying suns. I love you.” And it looks like pretty much everyone across the globe now feels the same.
Origins of the Hot Sauce
The name sriracha comes from that of a district in Thailand – the Si Racha. While there are many companies of Asian origin that manufacture the sriracha sauce, the credit for making this sauce a household name across the USA and many other countries goes to David Tran, owner of Huy Fong Foods. Of Vietnamese origin, Tran immigrated to the United States in 1979, and launched his company in 1980. His small business started from the back of Chevy truck from where he sold his precious sriracha hot chilli sauce to a number of Asian restaurants in and around Los Angeles.
What Goes in the Sriracha Sauce?
While different companies create sriracha sauce from their own indigenous recipes, Huy Fong’s sriracha is a little different. Instead of roasting the chillies, their sauce is made by grinding them. The Huy Fong recipe uses a type of chilli peppers grown in California which are then ground with garlic pods, sugar, and vinegar. The company believes that “everything tastes better with sriracha”, and honestly, I agree! Huy Fong’s sriracha is thicker than the other sauces out there. The one way to distinguish this famous sauce from the others flooding the market is the rooster logo, which is also why this sauce is known as the rooster sauce.
However, the company has no trademark on it which has led to many different versions of the fiery red Asian sauce. Tran makes no money from royalties when big corporates like Heinz, Subway, or Frito-Lay use the sriracha taste and name to market their products.
How Sriracha is Being Eaten with Everything
From adding the brightly-coloured and intensely-flavoured sriracha to popcorn, garlic bread, and nacho cheese mix, to trying out different recipes with sriracha sauce as the star ingredient, these are a few of my favourite things! Another realization that I and many others across the globe have come to is that sriracha and chicken is a match made in heaven. IMHO, the best way to incorporate sriracha into Indian cuisine is by making a yummy version of tandoori chicken by using hot sauce instead of red chili powder – marinate, grill, dip in cooling yoghurt and pop it straight into your mouth—fiery heaven!
Today, most condiment companies have created their own versions of the sriracha sauce—some of which just do not satisfy the palate in quite the same way. My advice is to hold out for the original rooster sauce.