May 2, 2012
So excited to share this post with y’all–Greg is a dear friend, and I’m addicted to his homemade sriracha hot sauce. We haven’t used the bottled stuff in weeks! Even better–I watched him make the stuff in my own kitchen, so I can attest that it’s ridiculously, wonderfully simple–Nishta
I’m not sure where to start this story. You might tell me I should start at the beginning, but there are a couple of different starts, on a couple of threads, that meet up far down the line…..
One of those threads starts many years ago with an article in a major NYC perdiodical (Times ?, Post ?, Magazine ?). The title used the expression “Homemade Rooster”. There were a few cross posts about the article, and I saved a link for future reference, knowing that someday I’d use that recipe.
Another thread starts just over a year ago and can be summarized with the word : “yarden.” I come from a long line of men who hate to do yardwork. When the time came for me to grow up and buy a home, I sought out a condo (no yard, no lawnmower, no edging). It seemed like a good plan. What I didn’t plan on was falling in love with a woman with a green thumb, a woman who would see my distaste for regular lawnmowing and make the following proposal : “Let’s get rid of all the grass and replace it with beds.” Thus, the entire yard became a garden. Yard + garden = yarden.
The transformation started in March of 2011 and by April we were enjoying fresh tomatoes, mourning the squashes that were lost to pests, and watching pink eyed peas outgrow weeds. We had a few crops that we struggled to make use of. What do you do with four small eggplant? What do you do with two jalapeños? Well…in my case, I could wait a few days and have a couple more jalapeños…and a few corno di toros…and some serranos…enough for me to pull out that old rooster sauce recipe and give it a try.
Now, if you have spent any real amount of time in your kitchen, you’ve had an experience where something turned out to be so much easier and so much better than you expected that you wondered why you’d not made it long before. This is one of those recipes. I was blown away by how fresh and flavorful that first batch was. I started finding new pairings and uses for it. All too soon, I was out and knew the yarden would not be able to keep up with demand. Also, I would need to refine the recipe from “whatever peppers are harvested from the yard” to something reliable and reproduceable.
We all know that there are a lot of spicy sauces out there. There are times when you want Tabasco, times where your prefer Texas Pete’s and other times when anything less than Cholula won’t do. The differences between the many sauces isn’t just in their heat, it is in the other characters and favors that they bring…the vinegariness of Tabasco, the earthiness of Cholula, and the depth of Huy Fong’s sriracha (aka Rooster Sauce). In the case of the recipe that follows, there is a fresh, fruity pop. I love the rooster, but I won’t be buying any off of the shelf for a very very long time.
½ pound fresh chilies, coarsely chopped
-Naturally, you can use any kind of chili you want. I like Fresnos. I recommend Fresnos. Bright, fruity, spicy but not too spicy. You could go with habaneros, but that would be madness.
4 garlic cloves
-Four, eight, whatever
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Throw everything into a saucepan, bring to a boil, return to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. The idea is just to get everything cooked and softened. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Transfer the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend for about 5 minutes.
This mixture should yield about a pint of bright orange goodness–after two weeks in the refrigerator, there might be some separation, but it will stir back together (and you’ll have consumed it by then anyway).
Greg Lopp is a self described foodie, code poet, philosopher, and ultimate frisbee player. He’s also the kind of guy who brings great beer to a party and stays late to help you clean up, without being asked. I named some brownies after him once. He and his wife Sharon, their three cats, and their yarden live here in Houston.