All products on this page have been selected by the editorial team, however Stylist may make commission on some products purchased through affiliate links in this article
Drizzle sriracha on everything? Here’s how to make it from scratch – plus three recipes that put the chilli condiment to good use.
It’s hot, but not too hot. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s garlicky, vinegary and silky-smooth – and in less than a decade, it’s gone from being relatively unknown in the UK to a supermarket staple. It is, of course, sriracha: the chilli sauce we love to squeeze onto everything from linguine with pangrattato to shrimp burgers.
Like many foods, sriracha’s origins are slightly murky. It’s believed to have been invented by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak in the Thai town of Si Racha in the 1930s. But the sauce’s present-day popularity in the UK owes a lot to the US, where a version manufactured by Los Angeles-based Huy Fong Foods has long been a bestseller.
Huy Fong Foods’ founder, David Tran, began making his twist on the sauce – which is thicker and less sweet than traditional Thai sriracha – in the 1980s, after he moved to California from Vietnam. By the late 2000s, it had become a cult condiment in the US, utilised by chefs across the country and earning a glowing write-up in The New York Times. Delays in the production and shipping of Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha even sparked mass stockpiling in 2013, as Americans panicked about not being able to get their hands on their beloved hot sauce.
You may also like
Noodle recipes to try now, whether you have 10 minutes or 2 hours
As with many food trends, sriracha’s popularity in the US soon spread to these shores. Initially available only at specialist retailers, street food stalls and (of course) Yotam Ottolenghi’s online deli, by 2014 it was well-known enough in the UK for Tesco to start selling own-brand sriracha. These days, it’s as ubiquitous as ketchup or mayonnaise – and below, you’ll find three recipes that put the chilli sauce to good use.
If you love a savoury, spicy breakfast dish, try Heidi Swanson’s sriracha oats: a surprising twist on porridge that has to be tasted to be believed.
Served with crusty bread and a tomato-sriracha-honey dip, Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup’s prawn skewers make a perfect summery lunch. Jenny Rosenstrach’s crispy cabbage pancakes, meanwhile, are elevated when dipped into a bright sriracha mayo.
Finally, those who truly want to take their love for sriracha to the next level should try Dan Toombs’ DIY recipe. The made-from-scratch sauce takes five days to ferment, but only needs 25 minutes prep and cooking time in total – and the result is seriously impressive. We challenge you not to put it on everything…
Instant sriracha oats
Heidi Swanson says: “This is a feisty, savoury way to start the day. You can use individual packets of unsweetened instant oatmeal or seek out instant oats in the bulk bins of just about any natural foods market. Double or triple the quantities if you’re cooking for more than one.”
- 160ml water
- 40g unsweetened instant oatmeal
- ¼ tsp tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sriracha, or to taste
- sprinkling of toasted peanuts
- ¼ tsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced spring onion, white and tender green parts
In a small pot, bring the water to the boil over medium–high heat. Place the oatmeal in a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the top and stir well.
Drizzle the tamari over the oats, dot with sriracha and top with the peanuts, chia seeds and spring onion.
From Super Natural Simple: Whole-Food, Vegetarian Recipes For Real Life by Heidi Swanson (£22, Quadrille), out now
Prawn skewers with sriracha dip
Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup say: “Prawns are very easy to prepare – simply add a little oil, salt and lemon juice to allow their own flavour to shine. They go incredibly well with this sriracha dip. These skewers are also excellent grilled.”
Makes 6–8 skewers
- 800g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
- 4 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable oil
- juice of ½ lemon
For the dip:
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable oil
- 400g jar tomato passata
- 3 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 crusty baguette, for serving
For the dip, wash, trim and finely dice the celery. Peel and coarsely dice the garlic.
Sweat the celery and garlic in a small saucepan with the rapeseed oil.
Add the tomato passata and simmer for 15 minutes.
Purée the tomato mixture with a stick blender until smooth. Season with the sriracha sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Set the dip aside to cool a little.
Rinse the prawns and pat dry. Thread the prawns onto wooden skewers, using three or four on each. Sprinkle with salt.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat and sear the prawns, turning them once. The prawns should still be a little glassy in the middle.
Drizzle the prawns with lemon juice and serve with the dip and sliced baguette.
From Taste The Wild: Recipes And Stories From Canada by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup (£18.99, Murdoch Books), out now
Crispy cabbage pancakes
Serves 4 (makes 8 pancakes)
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce
- 4 large eggs
- ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- 65g plain flour
- 1.7kg finely shredded cabbage, preferably napa (Chinese leaf)
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives, plus more (optional) for serving
- 1 bunch spring onions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped (about 65g)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sriracha, and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 80ml water. Gradually whisk in the flour – it’s OK if the batter is a little lumpy.
Gently fold in the cabbage, chives and spring onions.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan set over medium heat.
Heap scoops of batter onto the hot surface, using the bottom of the measuring cup or a spoon to gently flatten them. Fry about three at a time, or as many as fit while giving them space.
Cook until golden and crispy on each side, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate tented with foil to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet if necessary.
Serve alongside the sriracha dipping sauce and more chives, if desired.
From The Weekday Vegetarians: 100 Recipes And A Real-Life Plan for Eating Less Meat by Jenny Rosenstrach (£25, Clarkson Potter), out 31 August. Pre-order here
Dan Toombs says: “Making sriracha sauce is easy and it tastes great too. Once made, you can adjust the heat for future batches to your preference. Bird’s eye chillies are very spicy while spur chillies are much milder, although they do have a kick to them. I tend to do a 50/50 mix of the two.
“Most commercial brands use a lot of flavour enhancers and stabilizers, giving them an artificial flavour and a longer shelf life. This recipe will give you the real thing.”
- 225g red bird’s eye chillies
- 225g red spur chillies
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 70ml distilled white vinegar
Put the chillies, garlic cloves, sugar and salt in a food processor and blend to a coarse paste.
Scoop it all into a glass bowl and cover with cling film.
Leave to ferment for 2 days at room temperature. You will know that it is fermenting nicely when small bubbles appear on top.
Uncover and stir well and then cover again and leave for 3 more days, stirring every 24 hours or so.
On the fifth day, pour the mixture into a blender with 70ml of water and the vinegar and blend until very smooth.
Pass the smooth paste through a fine sieve into a saucepan, pushing down on the solids with the back of a spoon to try and get as much as possible into the pan.
Cook over a medium–high heat until it begins to simmer and then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes to thicken.
Pour into sterilized glass jars to cool and then cover with the lids. This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks without losing much flavour.
From The Curry Guy Thai: Recreate Over 100 Classic Thai Takeaway And Restaurant Dishes At Home by Dan Toombs (£15, Quadrille), out now
Photography: © Heidi Swanson; Lisa Nieschlag; © 2021 Christine Han; © Kris Kirkham
The Weekday Vegetarians copyright © 2021 Jenny Rosenstrach. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House