Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Explosive Spicy Mayo or How I Learned to Love Sriracha

To hear chefs sing praises about it, you would think that sriracha is the second coming of sauces and God forbid, even rivaling the French mother sauces. For those of us who can't pronounce its name (the right pronunciation is sir-rotch-ah), we simply call it "the rooster sauce," after the trademark crowing white rooter on its signature green-capped bottle or just simply "that spicy red sauce." Made by Huy Fong Foods out of Los Angeles, sriracha--and not many people know this--originated right here in the U.S. But its roots cut much closer to the Pacific Rim countries of South-east Asia, where David Tran, the creator of the sauce is from.

I first came across sriracha when I first attended college here in the U.S., staring at me from the shelf of a tiny Asian store in a small town in central Michigan. It piqued my interest because first, I love spicy food, second, the flaming red sauce in the green-capped bottle was eye-catching and third, I've never heard of it before. Growing up in Asia, I thought I knew all my sauces. Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, you name it, I've seen or tasted it. But this particular one with a funky name, nope. Then I found out that it was actually invented in the U.S. It tasted a lot like some of the spicy sauces I've had before and I didn't really give much thought to it.

That is until I started working in commercial kitchens. Asian restaurants use it. A lot. Fusion restaurants use it too. A lot. I've even found it in some fine dining restaurants that serve Asian-inspired dishes. Even the famous chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has found a use for it. Hint: hollandaise with sriracha. I can see many of you slapping your foreheads and going, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Sriracha, I quickly found out, is very versatile. Its garlicky, spicy and slightly sweet flavors lends itself well when blended with aiolis and other types of sauces like hollandaise. If you love French fries, then this simple spicy mayo recipe is going to be your favorite go-to condiment, I guarantee it.

Mix together:
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1/4 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 tablespoon honey

Mayonnaise makes a good base for many sauces (aiolis) because it is neutral tasting and creamy, which adds body and richness to the sauce. Mix them all well together and you have yourself a delicious spicy sauce that goes well with all types of fried foods. And if you like spicy tuna sushi, mix this sauce with your tuna. You'll be surprised how good it tastes.

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