Thursday, July 16

homemade sriracha

the most often heard quote since mentioning this blogging thing to folks: "I didn't know you cook!" variation on theme: "what's with the homemaker thing?" don't worry; I'm still a feminist, y'all.

the simple answer is michael pollan changed my existence. barbara kingsolver was first, actually, to get me thinking about capital-f food. sure, the logic of $1.99/lb south african oranges has always been baffling, but she measures cost in other ways. her essays on ecological footprints are provocative—besides her eating habits, sister even feels guilt for occupying homes built in sensitive areas, erected for people long-dead. she breaks down the environmental costs of 1 lb of beef in a way that's haunted me since reading it seven years ago. it was michael pollan's "omnivore's dilemma" that convinced the other household decision maker that local and very local foods are the way to go. we now check labels on processed foods, first for the dreaded corn syrup, then for the factory location, hoping the ingredients therein are also local. we buy most of our produce from farmers in a radius of 150 miles. we research. we cook.

{the pre-blog recipe archive}

dealing in whole, raw ingredients essentially forces the whole "homemaking" issue (blogging is an attempt at archiving our endeavors and—hopefully— successes). case in point: thai chili peppers. we've got one plant in our garden, and of the peppers we have, it's by far the most prolific.

{hmmm...what to do...}

the blogosphere is lately humming over sriracha, the tangy, garlicky asian hot sauce in the be-roostered plastic squeeze bottle. while there's little consensus on its origins (foreign or american), all seem to agree sriracha is having it's moment in the pop-cultural sun. all's i know is it's good. here's my attempt at replicating it.

homemade sriracha
adapted from white on rice couple

1 c. fresh red thai peppers (or whatever is red and handy) stems removed
2 medium shallots, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp oil
1 c. white distilled vinegar (5% if you plan on long-term storage, rice vinegar is right if for immediate consumption)
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp salt, nam pla or soy sauce

de-stem chiles but leave seeds, careful not to handle the peppers (or wear gloves to prevent chemical burns. seriously. it's like napalm, people.). heat oil over med fire and saute garlic and shallot for a minute or two, until fragrant.
add chiles and vinegar and heat to high simmer. turn off heat and add sugar and salt/nam pla/soy sauce, stirring until dissolved. place in glass container and, after cooling, store in fridge a few days while flavors meld.

place jar contents in food processor or blender and puree until a smooth consistency, adding a tbsp of vinegar at a time, if mixture is too thick. the consistency should be ketchup-ish. for long-term storage, add back into a pan for heat processing and canning in heat-sterilized jars. it should keep several months, if it lasts that long. don't forget to wash all pots, utensils, towels and your board.

we might just have an extra jar for some clever hotsauce lover out there. leave a comment and I'll consider sharing.

1 comment:

alexandra said...

wow, this is so ambitious! I feel lazy just reading this post. I bet this is a real treat!