There’s something Japan’s favourite fermented foodstuffs have in common, and you may not have heard of it before.
You’ve seen it at your local Pho place and on the supermarket shelves. Clear, filled with an almost neon reddish-orange sauce. You may even have tried it. You already love it. But do you know what it is?
Sriracha has been slowly taking over the condiment world. There are even cookbooks dedicated to it! A few years ago a major producer had a factory issue that threatened supply in North America and started a panic on social media that people might not be able to get their chilli fix.
Sriracha is a named after the city in which it was first made over 80 years ago Si Racha. Located on Thailand’s east coast, the city jealousy protects the sauce and its heritage. In fact, locals are making plans to limit the use of the name sriracha to the sauce made within the city and its surrounds. Similar to how Champagne or Cognac must be made in the regions that give them their name, Si Racha wants the same rules to apply to sriracha.
Sriracha was virtually unknown to those in the west until 1980 onwards when migration from Asia to places like Australia and America began to increase. These days, it’s practically everywhere.
Sriracha is actually pronounced “See-rah-jah”, the first r being silent and as you can imagine it’s major ingredient is chilli. But like all great hot sauces, there’s also plenty of sugar, garlic and distilled vinegar to add the famous tartness. Depending on where you eat it or what brand you’re using, the consistency can vary from quite fluid to chunky and viscous. It’s a fresh sauce with very little cooking, which is why the flavours are so intense.
In its home country of Thailand, sriracha is commonly used in seafood dishes omelettes and is added to sauces – like pad thai – to give them a lift and a kick. A lot of locals love to use it like Australians use tomato sauce. Thanks to Pantai, a household brand in Thailand famed for their authentic sauces, we now get to taste the Authentic Sriracha sauce in Australia. That is to say, they put it on everything from plain rice to bread to meat dishes. And who can really blame them, the stuff is delicious!